Bomarsund – Prästö
On the island of Prästö you can acquaint yourself with some of the people who came to Åland during the time when the Bomarsund fortress was being built. Russian soldiers and civilians from the garrison town that grew on the back of the enormous building project and many nameless prisoners-of-war from distant climes rest in the Greek-Orthodox, Muslim, Lutheran, Catholic and Jewish cemeteries. Most of the monuments were made out of wood and have long since disappeared, but about 50 gravestones can still be seen.
The trail passes by the site of the old garrison hospital. Most of those who remained in Prästö succumbed to one of the many epidemics that ravaged the garrison. You will also pass by the Russian telegraph station and the adjoining Doniken, where the telegraphists lived, two of only a handful of buildings from the Russian period that still remain in Åland. The Prästö hiking trail mainly follows narrow gravel roads and footpaths which wind their way through a beautiful landscape that bears the traces of centuries of human habitation. Because of two short rocky passages, the trail is classed as “easy” rather than “pram-friendly.”
Location: 28 km north-east of Mariehamn (J7)
Start: Lotsstugan (museum), east of the bridge
Length: 5.5 km (2–3 hours)