Course of the Saimaa Canal
|Length||42.9 km (27 mi)|
|Maximum boat length||82.5 m (271 ft)|
|Maximum boat beam||12.6 m (41 ft)|
|Minimum boat draft||4.35 m (14.3 ft)|
|Minimum boat air draft||24.5 m (80 ft)|
|Start point||lake Saimaa, Finland|
|End point||Gulf of Finland near Vyborg, Russia|
The Saimaa Canal (Finnish: Saimaan kanava; Swedish: Saima kanal; Russian: ? ) is a transportation canal that connects lake Saimaa with the Gulf of Finland near Vyborg, Russia. The canal was built from 1845 to 1856 and opened on 7 September 1856 (Old Style: 26 August 1856). It was overhauled and widened in 1963-1968.
A system of inland waterways and canals in the 120 interconnected lakes of the south-central and south-east part of Finland (Finnish Lakeland) are reached through the canal. The network of deep channels in Lake Saimaa with at least a draught of 4.2 metres (14 ft) covers 814 kilometres (506 mi). The deep channels extend all the way to Kuopio in Central Finland.
The canal begins near Lauritsala, Lappeenranta, Finland ( ) and ends in Vyborg, Russia ( ), connecting Lake Saimaa and the Vyborg Bay. On the way, it connects Lake Nuijamaa, on the Finnish-Russian border ( ), and three smaller lakes in Russia.
There are three locks in the Finnish part of the canal
Other five locks situated on the Russian side of the border:
Mälkiä Lock has highest lift (12.4 m (41 ft)), Tsvetochnoye Lock has the lowest (5.5 m (18 ft)).
The canal crosses
Finland obtained a 50 year lease on the Soviet part of the canal and Maly Vysotsky Island (Ravansaari) in 1963. Finland constructed a deeper 42.9 kilometres (26.7 mi) canal, which opened in 1968. The annual rent during this lease raised only once.
Finland obtained a second 50 year lease from Russia, starting in 2013, in 2010. Maly Vysotsky was not included in the new lease. Negotiations in 2008 raised the annual rent from EUR290000 to EUR1.22 million, with revisions every 10 years. The new agreement went into effect on 17 February 2012.
Regulations pertaining to maritime rules and employment of canal staff fall under Finnish jurisdiction; in all other cases Russian laws apply. Passports are required at the international boundaries, but Russian visas are not required for just passing through the canal.
Media related to Saimaa Canal at Wikimedia Commons