Walking around Turku (Finland)
Русская версия The Russian proverb says, “Chicken is not a bird, and Finland is not a foreign country” (same is said in the Belarusian proverb about Poland). Despite certain similarities of the landscape in Russia and Finland which became the ground for this proverb, there is a lot to see in both very different countries. Here we will tell about Turku – the oldest city of Finland and the country’s former capital.
Walking around Turku, one can easily use the river as a reference point and a guiding line – all the major sights are grouped around it, and its banks are frequently connected with the bridges, so that the river is always easy to cross. In the east, you may start from Turku Cathedral, in the west – from the Castle. It is said that if the weather is good, one can see the Castle from the Cathedral’s steps and vice versa, but Turku is so green in summer that it is hardly possible to see through all the trees.
The Cathedral was founded in 1258, and its first stone version was much smaller than the current one. The Cathedral was frequently rebuilt and expanded in the Middle Ages, in 1827, it was seriously damaged with fire. The 101-meter long tower was built then and became the symbol of Turku.
In 1980s, a huge organ was built in the Cathedral.
One can often see the ship models in this and other cathedrals of Finland – they are brought by the mariners thanking god for saving their lives from the sea.
Not far from the Cathedral, at the same side of the river, one can see the University and Science Park.
If you go along the river to the West from the Cathedral, another place of interest is Brinkkala Mansion; every year on December, 24 at 12 noon the Christmas is announced from its balcony. This annual tradition has lasted for five centuries, and for every Finn the Christmas starts in Turku.
In front of Brinkkala Mansion, as in many other places on the Aura river, plastic (?) swans swim.
Along the river there are multiple restaurants and bars on the ships.
Up the river there is Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova — the complex of two museums — of contemporary art and archeology of the Middle Age Turku.
Further you should cross the bridge to get to one of the main sights of Turku – the library. The library is open for all, and, if you have a reader’s card, you may participate in some events – including training workshops – for free. You may follow the timetable here.
Further to the west there is a Pharmacy Museum; this building is over 300 years old.
Even more interesting than the building is the Museum’s yard with a café.
Not far from it there is a hipster bar Titanic Nastya did not have the courage to enter.
After some time (if you are still following the west) you can see the sculpture “Spider’s web” by Outi Sarjakoski in one of the caves.
Next to it there is a theater.
Turku is the city of small details and sculpture, all mostly grouped along the river.
The complex of four sculptures “Ages” is also placed around the river bridge.
Closer to the harbor there is a fountain sculpture “Harmony” – a huge tail over Aura authored by Achim Kühn.
Nearby there is a Marine Museum (Forum Marinum) interesting for children and adults. The exposition is located both in hangars and outdoors, as well as in four ships on water and includes military and civil ships of different ages, weapons, and yachts.
The walk is to be concluded with the Castle, which was built in the XIII century. This is the main tourist attraction of Turku where many exhibitions are held.
Outside the central part of the city you may also see the museum of Jean Sibelius, Outdoor museum, Ruissalo National Park and many other things. The information centers, airport, railway and bus station always have free guide books in different languages. By the way, you may eat really cheap in the center near the Market Square at Turun Center Kebab Pizzeria: for 8-9 euros you will get a huge and tasty kebab, big enough for two people.
Near Turku, it is also interesting to visit the motherland of Moomins Naantali and the island of Seili formerly used as a leper colony and the lunatic asylum.