Turku is a city that is located on the southwestern coast of Finland directly at the mouth of the river Aura. It covers an area of one hundred and eighteen square miles and has a population of over one hundred and seventy-five thousand residents. Turku is the oldest city in Finland and was founded in the thirteenth century. Its name is derived from an old Slavic word “turgu” which means market place. With the establishment of the Dominican monastery in 1250 and the Cathedral of Turku and Turku Castle in 1301, the city became one of the most important cities in medieval Finland. As a result, the city was the seat of the Bishop of Turku until the seventeenth century.
When the Finnish War ended, Sweden ceded Finland to Russia according to the terms of the Treaty of Fredrikshamn in 1809. For a brief period of time Turku became the official capital of Finland, but lost the honor to Helsinki. For another quarter century, Turku would be the largest city in all of Finland. Today, the economy of Turku is based on high tech industries. This is especially true in the biotechnology and information technology fields. Turku’s economy is also bolstered by its thriving tourism industry. A popular attraction in the city that brings a lot of tourists to the city is Turku Castle. Turku Castle is one of the largest surviving castles in Scandinavia. The castle was founded in the thirteenth century. Over the next two hundred years the castle’s defences were improved and lodging quarters were put in place. During the sixteenth century, the castle was extended considerably. This was the only restoration or extension done on the castle during the course of its life. Many sieges have been brought on the castle over the course of its history.
Another popular attraction in the city is Turku Cathedral. Turku Cathedral is Finland’s national shrine and the Mother Church of the Lutheran Church of Finland. The cathedral was originally built in the thirteenth century and was composed entirely of wood. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the church was expanded using stone as the principal construction material. In the Great Fire of Turku in 1827, the church was badly damaged and had to be rebuilt. The Waino Aaltonen Museum of Art is another tourist attraction in the city that captures the attention of visitors. The Waino Aaltonen Museum of Art is a museum dedicated to modern art. It was founded in 1964 when the Turku city council approved a proposal to found a museum dedicated to Waino Aaltonen. After the proposal was approved Waino Aaltonen donated a collection of his work to the museum.
Other prominent attractions in the city of Turku include Luostarinmaki Handicrafts Museum, Uto Lighthouse, Rosala Island and Kirjais Island. The city is also home to a number of bars, restaurants and hotels. Popular residents in the city include Café Wiklund, Scandic Julia, Scandic Plaza Turku, Galax Restaurant, Cafe Sigyn, Hesburger Linja-Autoasema and the Ravintola Puutorin Vessa. Popular hotels in the city of Turku include the Cumulus Hotel, Sokos Hotel City Bors, Sokos Hotel Seurahuone, Radisson SAS Marina Palace Hotel, Park Hotel Turku and the Centro Hotel.