Story of the Turku Market Square

Time Trip to the Past and to the Future of the Turku Market Square

The Turku Market Square has a long history as a market place. There has been business done in the same place since the 17th century. For hundreds of years, it has been the most animated outside market of the City of Turku, and the beating heart of the city centre.

Turku grew since the 15th century on the western side of the River Aura. Wealthier people moved to the shores of the River Aura to the new side. The artisans and the less wealthy moved to the next blocks. The Market Square was included in those “next blocks”.

In the 17th century, there was a crossing of two roads in the middle of the current Market Square. It is probable that there was a leprosy cemetery on the north of the market place. In the southwest corner of the current Market Square, there was a market place since the end of the 17th century. There were dwellings of craftsmen, artisans, blacksmiths and coopers on the edges of the Market Square.

The area of the Market Square got abandoned and went to rack and ruin during the Greater Wrath in the 18th century. Consequently, many of the plots were turned back into fields. An intensive dwelling period, which ended in the Great Fire of Turku in 1827, began after the middle of the 18th century. The current Market Square took its shape after the fire, when the city centre of Turku was designed according to a grid plan by Carl Ludwig Engel.

How Will the Turku Market Square Look Like in the Year 2021?

The look and the infrastructure of the Turku Market Square will be renovated to correspond to the contemporary needs. The renovation of the Market Square forms part of the spearhead projects of the City of Turku. It is included in the development plan of the city centre of Turku which is one of the four spearhead projects set by the City Council in 2016. By developing the city centre, we will improve its attractiveness around the year, assure the accessibility of the city centre, and to ensure the fluency of the traffic. The plan also includes advancing the opportunities of the city centre to be an active venue for events and services for everybody.

As a result of the renovation, there will be new sales points established for the public market, an events stage, and a space for a comfortable urban living room. In addition, splendid pavilions will be built at the Turku Market Square for meeting points.

Since the 1990s, there has been a plan to build underground parking under the Turku Market Square. The planning of the renovation of the Market Square car park could start in practice in 2017. When the construction work will be ready, there will be parking lots for about 600 cars, six gateways to the adjoining commercial business blocks and elevators to the pavilion buildings.

The renovation of the Market Square started with archaeological excavations, and the demotion of the market buildings in May 2018. It has been estimated that the Market Square and the car park will be completed in 2021.