Canal to Russia

Lappeenranta harbor with the Church
Lappeenranta harbor with the Church

Lappeenranta in the Southeast of Finland is beautifully situated on lake Saimaa and is connected to the Bay of Finland and Russia via the Saimaa Canal. The canal was built between 1845 – 1856. It was formally opened on September 7 1856. It was later overhauled and widened 1963-1968. The canal is 42.9 km long (26.7 miles). the difference in elevation between lake Saimaa and the lower laying Gulf of Finland is 75.7 m (248 ft). The Finnish part has three locks, the first one in Mälkiä.

Mälkiä Lock on Saimaa Canal
Mälkiä Lock on Saimaa Canal

Mälkiä lock is the first lock when traveling towards Russia on the Saimaa Canal, it is also the lock with the biggest difference in elevation, 12,4 m (41 ft).

Mälkiä lock
Mälkiä lock

The lock port is rising from below to seal off the lake side of the lock so that the transition downwards can begin.

Mälkiä lock
Mälkiä lock
Mälkiä lock locking towards the lower part of the Canal
Mälkiä lock locking towards the lower part of the Canal
Mälkiä lock locking back towards lake Saimaa
Mälkiä lock locking back towards lake Saimaa
Mälkiä lock looking back towards the lake and Finland
Mälkiä lock

The gates have closed and lock is being drained of water, lowering the boat to the level of the lower part of the canal.

Mälkiä lock - Ready to move out
Mälkiä lock – Ready to move out
Back in the Canal, 12.4 m lower
Back in the Canal, 12.4 m lower

Take a two hour cruise on Lake Saimaa and the lock at Mälkiä with El Faro, it is a great experience!

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