Background of the Reform

Now It is the Time of the Turku Market Square

Finland’s oldest culture city will be soon 800 years old. The best is still in front of us.

Turku is proud of its venues in which it has allocated resources. Now it is the turn of the Market Square. The living city centre will be a home arena for pedestrians and cyclists. This demands a series of reforms which are linked to each other, and which will serve the needs of all the users of the city centre.

The purpose of the renovation of the Market Square is to enliven the city centre, to improve comfort, to increase trade in the area, and to create completely new opportunities for using public spaces. When the construction work of the Market Square will be finished, Turku will have Finland’s greatest city centre for walking, cycling and leisure. When the cars will be led to the underground parking, people will get safe and continuous bicycle roads.

The wishes and ideas of the Turku city residents and entrepreneurs have also been taken into consideration in the planning of the Market Square.

A parking facility for around 600–800 cars can be built in two levels according to the town-planning scheme. When about 200 parking lots around the Market Square will be removed, there will be more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Town-Planning Scheme

The town-planning scheme which was approved in 2012 is valid at the Market Square and on the streets around it. It allows building a car park in two levels under the Market Square. According to the town-planning scheme, there will at most 800 parking lots. The final number of parking spaces will be confirmed later in the planning procedure.

In addition to the underground parking, the town-planning scheme will make it possible to transfer the Street Yliopistonkatu to a pedestrian street at the Market Square and to transfer the Streets Eerikinkatu and Aurakatu into the usage of the public transport.

Street and Traffic Planning

The planning area forms part of a well-established city centre which is built-up town milieu with a wide variety of buildings and constructions representing different eras. The Market Square constitutes the core of the area, and it will be renovated respecting its historical foundations in the urban landscape. The Streets Aninkaistenkatu, Maariankatu, Aurakatu and Linnankatu limit the planning area around the Market Square. The cars, the bicycles, the pedestrians and the accessibility have been considered in the planning of transport networks.

The most significant changes in the current situation constitute transforming the Street Yliopistonkatu into a pedestrian street at the edge of the Market Square, and banning the motor vehicles, except for taxis and service traffic, in the Street Kauppiaskatu between the Streets Maariankatu and Eerikinkatu. The speed limits in the city centre will be reduced because of the emphasis on pedestrians and cyclists.

Archaeological Excavations

The Turku Market Square was established in the 1830s. Some archaeological observations have been done when the pavements were done but the cultural levels of the excavations of the 17th and the 18th century remain unexamined for the most part.

The renovation of the Market Square begun with archaeological excavations and the demolition of the market buildings in May 2018. The Finnish Heritage Agency and Turku Museum Centre supervised the excavations made by the company Muuritutkimus Oy.