If you are planning a trip to the fascinating country of Finland and want a truly unique cultural experience, do not look further and choose Turku as a fine place to unwind and relax. One of top 2011 European Capitals of Culture, Turku welcomes active vacationers to learn more about its culture and spend a memorable holiday.
Situated on the southwestern coast of Finland, on the banks of the Aura River, Turku is the oldest and one of the largest cities in Finland, the history of which dates back to the 13th century. Former capital of Finland and a festive summer city, Turku is home to fascinating parks and a large number of historical attractions with the leading ones being Turku Archipelago, Turku Castle, Turku Cathedral, Sibelius Museum and the ‘Old Town’ of Turku.
One of the most treasured touristic attractions and most famous landmarks in Finland, Turku Castle is a huge captivating building that opens the list of Turku’s top tourist destinations. Dating back to the 1280s, it is one of the most remarkable examples of Finland’s national heritage. The imposing castle features two dungeons and some truly impressive banqueting halls. Another attraction is the Museum Shop Fatapur with its wide selection of gifts, souvenirs and informative books.
The castle offers theme exhibitions, concerts and events for children and adults alike that not only illustrate the history of Turku and Finland but also show customs and interior decoration styles of past centuries. So if you are interested in coins, medieval wooden structures, medals and guns, there is plenty to see.
Another must-see attraction is the bewitching Turku archipelago comprising more than 20,000 islands with various sizes and shapes, which during the summer months offer guests scenic and exciting cruises to enjoy stunning views over the wonderful nearby islands of Finland. Evening dinner cruises are also popular among tourists, during which meals are either served on the boast or on the island of Loistokari. Sightseeing trips mostly depart from the quay next to Martinsilta Bridge.
The only museum totally devoted to music in Finland, the most extensive Sibelius Museum displays some 350 musical instruments from across Finland and memorabilia of the world-renowned Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The building, designed by Woldemar Baeckman, is one of the most fascinating Finnish creations of the 1960s featuring funnel-shaped pillars and untreated concrete surfaces of glass. If you are really interested in the life and the artistic work, as well as the Sibelius’s role as an idol and national symbol, the museums is not-to-be-missed.
Turku Cathedral is a 14th century cathedral, dedicated to St. Mary and the first bishop of Finland, ST. Henri. Originally built mostly from wood, the church has suffered a lot from fire, and over centuries has been enlarged and reconstructed several times., the latest major renovation being in 1979. The cathedral has an extremely high ceiling and boasts a lofty vaulted nave and a plethora of exquisite wall arches. The mother church of the Lutheran Church of Finland, Turku Cathedral is also the country’s National Shrine.