On Saturday, Vyborg (a city near the Russian-Finnish border) celebrates the 600th anniversary of its urban status.
Among other things, the celebration programme includes the `City of Four Cultures` festival of choral music featuring Russian and Finnish choirs. A festival of electronic music, theatrical shows and open-air merry-making are also on the agenda. The festivities will be crowned with fireworks in the city's main square.
By a lucky coincidence, the anniversary celebrations fall on the dates traditionally earmarked for the `Window to Europe` film festival, which has been annually held in Vyborg in the past eleven years.
In 1403 Sweden's King Eric XIII granted Vyborg, then a small Swedish settlement, the status of a city, giving rise to its rapid growth. Shortly afterwards, Vyborg became Sweden's second city in terms of size and influence.
During the 1710 Northern War between Russia and Sweden, Vyborg was captured by the Russian troops and included in the Russian Empire on the basis of the Nishtadt Peace Treaty of 1721. After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution the city fell under Finland's jurisdiction and remained that way until the 1939-1940 Soviet-Finnish war. During WWII, the city was occupied by German troops. In 1944, Vyborg was liberated by Russian soldiers and reinstated as an inalienable part of Russia.
Today, Vyborg is a major regional centre with a population of over 80,000. In the past decade, it has become very popular with Scandinavian tourists.