Turku (Åbo)

Turku (Åbo)

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Turku was Finland's original capital, until it was transferred to Helsinki in 1812, by the Russian administrators (Helsinki was closer to Russia and easier to control). It is the country's oldest city, but little of the historic center remains, as most houses were built out of wood and it was destroyed by fire several times. The oldest remaining area is Luostarinmäki, which dates from the 18th century. You can visit most houses there and during the summer artisans work inside the houses using traditional methods. The medieval Turku Cathedral dates from the 13th century and is one of Finland's oldest churches. It survived the fires, as it was one of the few buildings made out of stone. There is a nice museum inside.

Another stone building that was not destroyed is Turku Castle. It dates from 1280, making it Finland's oldest surviving building. In 1941 if was severely damaged by a fire, but many artifacts were saved and are on display. Inside many rooms have been decorated in such a way that every room evokes a certain period in history. There are also excellent scale models that show the development of the area and the castle itself.

There are many hotels and restaurants in Turku. The city is on Finland's southwestern coast, 155 km northwest of Helsinki.


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