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History

The Eckerö Mail and Custom’s House was the Russian border post to Sweden for over one hundred years.

In 1636, Queen Christina of Sweden established a mail route between Sweden and Finland. Mail was transported by boat from Grisslehamn on the island Väddö in Sweden to Storby, Eckerö. The mail route continued over land across Åland via Hammarland, Finström, Jomala and Saltvik to Bomarsund in Sund. From there, the route continued over land and sea via Vårdö, Kumlinge and Brändö to Gustav’s parish on the Finnish mainland.

After Sweden lost the war against Russia in 1808-09, Åland and the rest of Finland were incorporated into the Russian empire. The humble post office in Storby, which suddenly sat along Russia’s new border to the West, was not deemed grand enough to represent the empire and was replaced by a stately structure built in the Russian empirical style; it was completed in 1828. The building was designed by architects Carl Ludvig Engel and Carlo Bassi and is considered to be one of Engel’s most important architectural works.

The building has belonged to the municipality of Åland since 1994 and is administered by the Government of Åland. Today the building is a tourist destination that is open seasonally. The main building houses the postmaster’s office, space for exhibitions and public events and living quarters for visiting artists. The north wing contains the mail route museum, maintained by Eckerö’s local heritage association.