“The Old Capital”. Previously, we explore the town of Tampere with its industrial heart, now it is time to move on to another big town of Finland, Turku. Turku (or “Åbo” in Swedish) is the old capital of the country; that is why I decided to name this chapter of the journey this way.
Where: Turku, Finland
What: “Travel Smart” series
The town of Turku is located on the south-western shore of Finland. The location was chosen on purpose, i.e. when Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden. And since there were two brothers, one was the King of Sweden, and the other was the King of Finland. Sweden wanted to have the capital of its “little brother” closer, in order to establish better and easier ways for trade, visiting, or for war purposes. Later on, when Finland became part of the Russian Empire, the capital was moved to the city of Helsinki (for convenience of Russian monarchs). Therefore, Finland has its second capital on its west coast. Even looking at the map you can see how and where towns are concentrated. It is quite interesting.
It makes sense to start the journey from the city center of Turku. It is quite a nice and cozy place by the river. Turku has a combination of a small town and a big town; in some places it reminded me the town of Porvoo.
You will probably be having your way to Turku from Helsinki, road E18 and then becoming Road 1, or from Tampere, E63, either way, the road will lead you to the city center. We are going to start our journey from the Market Square. An interesting thing there is an old tram as a monument. Turku used to have trams but for some reason they were removed. This is a small reminder of those times. And there is a funny thing that the bus company, which operates in Turku, is called “Åbus”, clearly hinting at its Swedish origin.
As a matter of fact, you can find a pretty lovely place to stay there, i.e. Original Sokos Hotel Hamburger Börs. It is located on the corner of Kauppiaskatu and Eerikinkatu. It is an unusual name for a hotel, but it has a really nice design.
|Original Sokos Hotel Hamburger Börs|
It is good to know options for accommodation in such a town, since there is a lot to explore. Continue your way to Linnankatu and get closer to the river; the most charming part of Turku is there. Walk around the streets of this town and get to the Turku City Library, a nice building with a fountain in front of it; it is located in a pedestrian area with lots of small shops and cafés.
|Turku City Library|
Get a little ahead to the bridge and walk to the park, you will find a nice place to hang out with lots of young people. There is a park on both sides of the road with quite a majestic view. Walk a little closer to the Turku Cathedral, which is one of the symbols of the town. The original building of the church was built in 1300, though it was restored after the fire in 1827, and now it is a state landmark. There are lots of interesting places around it, as well as some historic buildings.
Once you enjoyed everything in the area, let us move on to visit Michael’s Church, a neo-gothic church. It is quite big and impressive, and you can get there by foot, it is in a walking distance (on Puistokatu). The central railroad station is quite near to this place, on Ratapihankatu, if you are interested to see; though, it was not impressive from the outside.
|Turku Castle Chapel|
And moving on to the final and perhaps the most meaningful part of this chapter of the journey in the town of Turku, we are headed to the area near the port of Turku. Basically, it is nice to visit that area; there is a ferry terminal and a terminus station for the long-distance trains. To get there, keep moving on Linnankatu, which was the street going from the city center. But we are headed to the Turku Castle, which is on this street. The castle is one of the major symbols of the town of Turku, and perhaps its heart.
This castle if more like a fortress; it was restored after bombing during the WWII, so now it looks close enough to the original. It is quite a big castle with lots of rooms and exits; one might get lost in there easily. One of the rooms is equipped with various kinds of things, such as helmets, dresses, and so on. You can try it all on. It is a fun experience! There is an unofficial tradition to put stickers, which you get when you buy your ticket, to the trashcan and its pillar as a mark of visiting the castle. And this journey has come to its end. Hopefully, you are inspired enough to visit Turku, I was trying to show you some of the most interesting places and give you some idea of what the old capital of Finland is. And now we are moving to our destination in the north. Next, we are going to cover several towns on our way to Rovaniemi; therefore, get ready for 4 final chapters of the journey in Finland with Travel Smart!
Kirill “Traveler” Malyutin
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About Travel Smart series:
“Travel Smart” is a section, narrating about different countries and good travel tips, advised by the author, Kirill Malyutin. The series contains recommendations, including selected places to visit, character accommodation, and reasonable shopping. Simply get inspiration!All stories of the series →
О серии «Travel Smart»:
«Travel Smart» – раздел, в котором автор Кирилл Малютин рассказывает о разных странах и дает необходимые в путешествии советы. Серия включает в себя рекомендации по посещенным автором местам, характерным средствам размещения, а также разумному шопингу. Вдохновитесь приключением!Все выпуски серии →
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