Get familiar with the history of Turku
Where in Turku was a lake situated hundreds of years ago? Where was the bridge that collapsed or the house that the disappeared into river? Explore the Turku returns to the map cultural exercise route to find the answers!
The length of the route is 8.4 km.
There were three established houses in the village by the 17th century, and they were called Kohmo, Rasi and Huhko. Each house was divided into two in the 18th century and subsequently got the prefixes Iso (big) and Vähä (small). Four of the former six houses remain today: Iso and Vähä-Kohmo, and Iso and Vähä-Rasi. The houses still stand on their original 18th century sites. Both of the Huhko houses have been joined to the Iso-Rasi house.
Luostarin välikatu, running through the Great Old Square, was the town’s artery in the Middle Ages. The street ran from St. Olaf’s Dominican monastery to the town centre and to the Cathedral.
After the fire of 1827 C.L. Engel drew up a new grid plan for the city, but he left the old medieval centre untouched. Luostarin välikatu remained to remind us of the narrow streets of the past.
Today Luostarin välikatu is a unique remnant of the Middle Ages. The street has served as a background for many films and inspired many photographers.
The Old Great Square used to be the town centre in Turku. It was an important trading place and the administrative centre of Turku from the 13th century until the early 19th century.
Traffic routes from all over the country crossed in the Great Old Square. The most important of these routes was the sea lane from river Aura connecting Finland to the rest of Europe. The most significant roads were the historic Ox Road of Häme, connecting Turku Castle and Häme Castle, and the old King’s Road that led to Vyborg in Russia.
The houses and courtyards in Luostarinmäki illuminate the way of living in the 18th and 19th centuries. The very first inhabitants built small dwellings which were later extended to include extra rooms and outhouses.
The only way into the courtyard was through a gate that had a sign above it indicating the address of the house in question. However, not all streets had names or the houses addresses before the fire of 1827 in Turku. The only information as to which address you were in, was the name of the quarter and the number of the plot.
Luostarinmäki is the only continuous district of wooden houses that survived the fire of 1827 in Turku. These houses are over 200 years old and still standing in their original building sites. Luostarinmäki used to be on the edge of town, where land was cheap. This meant that craftsmen of lesser means moved to the district and lived in a rural subsistence economy.
- You can listen to the Audio Guide via SoundCloud.
- You can also download the SoundCloud application to your mobile device.
- Write “Turku Castle Audio Guide” in the SoundCloud application search field.
- Additionally, you can download single Audio Guide tracks to your computer/device.
- The Audio Guide is also available in Russian.
The Pharmacy Museum will lead you into the history of medicine, health and illness. The Qwensel House displays the life and home of the gentry in 18th century Turku. The city's oldest surviving wooden house holds stylish halls and chambers as well as Finland's oldest pharmacy interior.
In the pharmacy office small souvenirs and post cards are on sale. All-time favourites are sugar candy and The Apothecary's salty liquorice, a popular sweet flavoured with ammonium chloride.
Turku Castle is a more than 700 year old historical monument. It has stood guard over the river Aura estuary since the 1280’s. Its granite stone walls hold within them the history of Finland, Sweden and the other Nordic countries.
History in a nutshell
The history of Turku Castle begins in the 1280's. During the centuries the fortification gradually changed into a grand greystone palace.
Time travel through the history of Finland
Explore the history of Turku by taking the Heart of Finland route. At the same time you will learn about the development of the region of the river Aura and Turku. Walk, run or cycle, the choice is yours.
The route starts from the Turku city centre and continues through the Maaherran Makasiini to the Old Castle of Lieto. The length of the route is 11.5 km. There are 12 information boards along the route.