The Hanko Peninsula and its outer tip, Tulliniemi, form a protected haven, which sides with an old and a well-known sailing route. Vikings used this haven when sailing to the east, and Novgorodians accessed it when traveling to the west. Gotlandian peasants traveled the route as well, on their trading voyages to the east. Later, Birger Jarl and Torkel Knutsson acquainted with the sailing route, while spreading Christianity in Häme and Karelia during the so-called Second Crusade (1145-1149).
The recorded history of Hanko begins in the mid-13th century. The first written mention of the Hanko Peninsula is in the itinerarium of Valdemar II, Navigation ex Dania Fri mare Balticum Estoniam ed. This itinerarium – sort of an account of a journey – describes a sailing voyage that starts from Denmark and goes along the Swedish coast, over the sea of Åland, continuing along the Finnish coast via Porkkala to Tallinn and the Neva River. The travel account also mentions a place called Hangethe, also referred to by its Finnish name Cumiupe. This is the first recorded mention of the Hanko Peninsula. In practice, what the authors probably mean is the Tulliniemi peninsula, which is notoriously difficult to circumnavigate. The itinerarium may have been written in Tallinn during the era of Bishop Torkel (approximately 1238-1260).
Soon, a Catholic chapel rose to the vicinity of Hanko’s first harbour. While the exact building period remains unknown, the site must have been relatively meaningful and important, considering that the harbor still bears the name Kappelisatama, “the harbour of the chapel”.