Saimaa Canal Cruises
About the history of the Saimaa Canal
A waterway connection from the Lake Saimaa to the Gulf of Finland and further to Europe can be considered as an ancient idea. The first attempts to build the Saimaa canal were made in the 16th century and early 17th century. The first Saimaa Canal with 28 sluices was completed by 1856.
The rebuilding of the Saimaa canal begun in the 1920’s because it had become too small. This second rebuilding attempt resulted in about 40% of the canal being fully constructed before the World War II.
After the war, about a half of the canal remained in the Soviet Union’s area and the waterway connection from Saimaa to the sea was cut off for more than 20 years. In 1963 the construction of the current canal was started which was enabled by the treaty between Finland and the USSR in which the Soviet Union rented their side of the Saimaa Canal for Finland for 50 years. The new canal with eight sluices was completed by 1968.
During the entire boating season the Saimaa Canal is open for boaters 24 hours a day. The Canal forms entirety in which all eight sluices have the same measurements and techniques. The maximum vessel size permitted is by length 82.5m, by beam 12.2m, by draught 4.35m and height of a mast 24.5m.
The sluices on the Saimaa Canal
1. BRUSNITCHNOE SLUICE
The Brusnitchnoe sluice comes first when approaching from the sea. Its head is in 10 meters.
2. ISKROVKA SLUICE
The Iskrovka sluice’s head is in 11,4 meters.
3. CVETOTCHNOE SLUICE
The Cvetotchnoe sluice’s head is in 5,5 meters.
4. ILISTOE SLUICE
The Ilistoe sluice’s head is in 10,2 meters.
5. PÄLLI SLUICE
The Pälli sluice’s head is in 11,7 meters.
5b. KANSOLA BASCULE BRIDGE
6. SOSKUA SLUICE
The Soskua sluice’s head is 8,3 meters.
7. MUSTOLA SLUICE
The Mustola sluice’s head is in 7,3 meters.
8. MÄLKIÄ SLUICE
The fall of the slap receives fluctuations in the water level of Lake Saimaa and its fall height is about 13 metres. Sights: The old Mälkiän sulkuryhmä from 1856 and the Canal Museum on the east side of the lock.
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