Parks and other green areas are maintained according to the national park maintenance classifications. The maintenance classification of a park is determined by the area’s location and purpose of use. Parks in the City Centre are maintained more intensively.
Turku City parks are characterized by diversity. Diverse natural conditions of the parks ensure functional green corridors and ecological connectivity. This is why a park can often have areas with different maintenance levels. For example, one part of a park may be classified as a landscape meadow and another as a park forest.
Turku is known as a green city and as the birthplace of the country’s gardening culture. The first urban trees in the country were planted in Turku, which is why it is possible to see exceptionally large and old trees, for example, by the banks of the River Aura and around the Cathedral. Even today the trees in the parks and by the streets make the city into a comfortable and humane place for its residents as well as visitors.
Vartiovuorenpuisto is one of the oldest and, considering the landscape and cultural history, also one of the most valuable urban parks in the country. In the beginning of the 1800s Vartiovuori was only barren rocks, just like all other hills in Turku. During the centuries the rocks had been quarried for stone for the construction of the city and the trees growing on the hill had been chopped for firewood.
The history of the park currently known as Tähkäpuisto dates back to the 1530s when Gustav I of Sweden gave an order that the area should be made a recreation area for the middle class. The oldest trees in the area are from the collections of the Swedish gardening school, which operated in the area until 1968. After the school ceased operations the area was left as wasteland, until the construction of the current park was started in the 1980s. Tähkäpuisto was inaugurated on Turku Day in 1982.
Tuomiokirkonpuisto is one of the oldest parks in Turku. Its construction began already in 1833 when it was decided that chestnuts, lindens, and maples would be planted on the area destroyed by the Great Fire of Turku. The construction of parks and squares had a significant role in improving fire safety. The park was renovated between 1885 and 1887 based on the plan by City Gardener Oscar Rudolf Gauffin. At that time, a smallish semicircle-shaped square facing the cathedral, and the old straight-lined passageways were replaced with ones that were noticeably curvilinear.
Puolalanmäki is one of the most significant constructed environments in Turku City Centre. Originally founded as a scenic park, the panoramas that opened from the Puolalanmäki park have closed for good due to the blocks of flats built around it.
One of the oldest parks in Turku is Porthaninpuisto, which is located next to the Old Great Square. The first construction work in the park was finished in 1835. Nils Henrik Pinello had a pavilion built in the middle of the western park in the area which was then called Nikolaintori. It was opened in June 1849, but it had to be moved to the side when the statue of Henrik Gabriel Porthan was erected on the same spot. Both Pinella and the Porthan monument – the first public sculpture in Finland – shaped the nature of the park significantly.
Mannerheiminpuisto is a park the size of an entire block located in the City Centre. The park is bordered by Koulukatu, Puutarhakatu, Puistokatu, and Rauhankatu. The park was named after C.G.E. Mannerheim and a statue representing Mannerheim is located there. The statue of Mannerheim is a bronze bust designed by sculptor Veikko Leppänen and architect Aarne Ehojoki. The statue was unveiled in 1994, fifty years after Mannerheim was elected president. Opposite the statue and next to the park is St Michael’s Church.
Lönnrotinpuisto is located in the Turku City Centre between Aninkaistenkatu, Eerikinkatu, and the Aura River.
In 1900 City Gardener Mauritz Hammarberg suggested that a park should be built around Turku Castle, since it was the first thing a person coming from the sea would notice. An open air museum with demotic buildings such as granaries was built in 1906. As soon as the park was finished it turned out to be inadequate, so Hammarberg’s follower, landscape architect Söderberg, made a plan in 1907 for the expansion of Linnanpuisto.
Kupittaanpuisto is the largest urban park in Finland, and it has capacity for many kinds of activities for the whole family. In addition to the large green areas in Kupittaanpuisto, there are also a bird park, a traffic park for children, the Adventure Park, a pavilion restaurant, an outdoor swimming arena, and a sports hall.
Ingegerdinpuisto is located in the Räntämäki district, surrounded by one-family houses. The plan for Ingegerdinpuisto was drawn up by Turku City Planner Irma Rytkölä in 1990.
The first public urban parks were built in the 19th century with comfort, recreation, and merry-making in mind. One of the oldest parks in Turku is Brahenpuisto, which is located next to Turku Cathedral. The first ‘horti’ were created in the area already in the latter half of the 16th century. Planting of the park started after the Great Fire of Turku in 1833, and Brahenpuisto was renovated and expanded in 1886-1888. The park got its characteristic monument, the statue of Per Brahe by sculptor Walter Runeberg, in 1888.
Asemanpuisto, aka Rautatientori, is a park located in front of the Turku Central Railway Station. Asemanpuisto, together with the Central Railway Station area, belong to the National Board of Antiquities’ nationally significant constructed cultural environments.
Turku National Urban Park is the prestigious core of the city’s recreation areas, and it extends some 15 kilometres from Airisto to Kylämäki Village of Living History. The heart of the park is the River Aura milieu. The urban park areas reach from Kylämäki Village and the cultural landscape of the River Aura through the Student Village, the old City Centre of Turku, the Chiewitz switchback and former Kakola central prison all the way to Ruissalo island.