The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland to the north and Estonia to the south, to Saint Petersburg in Russia to the east, where the river Neva drains into it.
The area of the Gulf of Finland is 29,500 km², length – 420 km, width from 70 km in the throat to 130 km in the widest part, average depth – 38 m (maximum – 121 m).
The average water temperature in winter is about 0 °C, in summer 15-17 °C on the surface and 2-3 °C at the bottom. The bay freezes from the end of November to the end of April (in warm winters it may not freeze all year round). Freezing begins in the eastern part of the bay and gradually spreads to the west. Characterized by strong wind waves and surges of water during westerly winds, leading to floods.
Several cities are located on the shores of the bay:
in Russia: St. Petersburg (including Kronstadt, Sestroretsk, Zelenogorsk, Lomonosov, Peterhof), Primorsk, Sosnovy Bor, Vyborg, Vysotsk, Ust-Luga;
in Finland: Helsinki, Kotka, Hanko;
in Estonia: Tallinn, Toila, Sillamäe, Narva-Jõesuu, Paldiski.
The name of the Gulf of Finland has been known since the 1730s, according to the people inhabiting the northern coast of the Gulf.
In 1737-1793, the name Kronstadt Bay simultaneously existed.
In the Gulf of Finland, artificial islands – forts – were built for defensive purposes. The first forts began to be built during the Northern War between Russia and Sweden (1700-1721) to protect against Swedish troops from the Baltic Sea.
Several forts were built in the 19th century. In total, there are 19 forts in the Gulf of Finland: Kronshlot, Citadel (Emperor Peter I), Risbank (Emperor Paul I), Emperor Alexander I (Plague), Prince Menshikov, Obruchev, Totleben, Reef, Shanets, Den, Krasnaya Gorka, Eno.
Currently, the following ferry lines operate in the Gulf of Finland:
Silja line. Routes: Helsinki (Finland) – Mariehamn (Aland Islands) – Stockholm (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland) – Tallinn (Estonia).
Viking line. Routes: Helsinki (Finland) – Mariehamn (Aland Islands) – Stockholm (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland) – Tallinn (Estonia).
Tallinn. Route Helsinki (Finland) – Tallinn (Estonia), Tallinn (Estonia) – Mariehamn (Aland Islands) – Stockholm (Sweden), Paldiski (Estonia) – Kappelsker (Sweden).
Finnlines. One of the largest European ferry companies. Carries out transportation between Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
Superfast Ferries via Tallink. Route Tallinn (Estonia) – Hanko (Finland) – Rostock (Germany).
Eckeroline. Route Helsinki (Finland) – Tallinn (Estonia).
Super Sea Cat. Route Helsinki (Finland) – Tallinn (Estonia).
“Georg Ots”. Route Kaliningrad (Russia) – St. Petersburg (Russia).