What do you know about the city of Turku?
Don’t worry if you don’t know much, you can start with these fun facts about Turku!
Located by the River Aura
Turku is located by the Aura River, on the shore of the Baltic Sea, and is surrounded by a beautiful archipelago. So water is an important part of Turku.
Turku is Finland’s Oldest Town
Turku is the oldest town in Finland. It’s not known exactly when Turku was founded, but in 1229 the Pope Gregory IX moved the episcopal seat to the area of the present-day Turku. This is the year when the history of Turku “officially” begins.
City’s Name Means a Trading Place
Turku’s name derives from the ancient word tǔrgǔ, which means a trading place.
Turku is also known as Åbo
Turku is a bilangual city. About 5 percent of the population of Turku speaks Swedish as their first language. Is Swedish Turku is called Åbo. The Swedish name is quite accurate, because in Swedish å means “river” and bo is a verb “to live”.
Turku is Finland’s 6th Biggest City
With the population of 195 000, Turku is Finland’s sixth biggest city.
Turku is Finland’s Former Capital
Before Helsinki became the capital in 1812, Turku was Finland’s first capital.
Turku Cathedral is Finland’s National Shrine
Turku Cathedral is Finland’s national shrine. It was consecrated as a cathedral in 1300.
Turku Castle is the Best-Known Landmark of the City
Turku castle is probably the best-known building in the city of Turku. It is almost as old as the city itself. The construction of the castle began in the late 13th century. During its history, the castle has been a defense building, a residential building, an administrative building, a prison, an army barracks and a storage building. Nowdays Turku Castle is a popular museum.
City Almost Disappeared in a Great Fire
Throughout its history, there have been many fires in Turku. One of the worst happened in September 1827, when most of the city burned down. This disaster is known as the Turun Palo (the Great Fire of Turku).
The Christmas Peace is declared in Turku Every Year
The declaration of the Christmas Peace is one of Finnish Christmas traditions. It is declared in Turku every Christmas Eve at noon. This Christmas tradition has continued almost uninterrupted since the 1300s.
City of Turku
Image by Suomen Ilmakuva / City of Turku