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Published: August 12th 2014
Turku Finland 10 August 2014
Turku is a city in the Southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of Aura River. It is within the region of Finland Proper in the Province of Western Finland. It is believed that Turku came into existence during the end of 13th century which makes it the oldest city in Finland.
Turku was for a long time the most important population centre in Finland: it was the first capital city of Finland from 1809 to 1812 and continued to be the largest city by population in Finland until the end of the 1840s. Nowadays its significance nationwide is not the same as it used to be, but Turku is a regional capital and important location for business and culture in Northern Europe.
Turku has approximately 175 000 people, and was the most important city in Finland from the 1300s until 1812, when the Russians moved the capital to Helsinki. Turku remained Finland's main city for a while after, but its ambitions were dealt a death blow in 1827, when a raging fire destroyed most of the city.
Today's Turku remains the third largest city in Finland, after the Greater Helsinki metropolitan
area and Tampere. Some of the main attractions of Turku are its history and the great natural beauty of the neighbouring archipelago.
Turku Castle (Turun linna), is at the south tip of the city, near a ferry terminals. We heard it was a must for everyone visiting the city and is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. This old castle dates from the 1280s, and has been carefully renovated. There is always some exhibition in the castle premises. Highlights include the two dungeons and magnificent banquet halls, and a historical museum of medieval Turku in a maze of restored rooms in the castle's old bailey.
We then saw Turku Cathedral which towers over the river and the town and is one of Finland's most important Cathedrals.
Next was a visit to Luostarinmäki which is the old wooden village. In 1827 a fire destroyed almost all of Turku. Luostarinmäki was one of the few areas that were saved, and now it hosts a handicrafts museum. We saw about 6 artisans working in the different little wooden houses - weaving, crocheting, etc. It was certainly worth the visit. All the streets were cobblestoned and every building had
examples of what was used in everyday life in the 1800s.
We then walked along the river which was certainly central to the lives of people in Turku today. As it was another lovely day, it was very pleasant walking along the river. We then had lunch and headed towards Helsinki which was about 160kms.
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