Hanko is a bilingual port town and municipality on the south coast of Finland. majority being Finnish speakers and a strong minority being Swedish speakers
The site was already known by sailors in the 15th century. Petroglyphs from that time are carved into the rock at the Hauensuoli island.
Hanko has a long history of wars and battles. The Battle of Gangut between Swedish and Russian navies was fought in 1714 in the archipelago north of the peninsula. The battle was the first-ever victory of the Russian regular fleet.
The city was founded in 1874, soon after the Hanko-Hyvinkää railway was inaugurated in 1872. The Imperial Charter for the city was granted by Tsar Alexander II.
In the Moscow Peace Treaty that ended the Winter War on 13 March 1940, Hanko was leased to the Soviet Union as a naval base for a period of 30 years.
The role of the Hanko naval base was replaced by Porkkala in the armistice between Finland and the Soviet Union of 19 September 1944, but it was returned to Finland in January 1956.
Hanko is twinned with: Stord, Norway; Halmstad, Sweden; Haapsalu, Estonia & Gentofte, Denmark.
There are also over 90 small islands and islets within the city limits.
The city has a coastline of approximately 80 miles, of which 20 miles are sandy beaches.