Top Historic Sights in Länsi-Turunmaa, Finland

Explore the historic highlights of Länsi-Turunmaa

Parainen Church

The greystone church in Parainen was built in the 15th century (probably in 1440-1460) and is dedicated to St. Simon. The western part of the Agricola-chapel is the eldest component of the church, today a museum. On the churchyard is located the chapel of bishop Tengström, Finland's first archbishop (erected in 1819). The interior of the church is covered with several coat of arms. The rarest one is dedicated to pope ...
Founded: 1440-1460 | Location: Länsi-Turunmaa, Finland

Houtskari Church

The wooden Houtskari Church was built in 1703-1704 and designed by E. Nilsson. The bell tower dates back to 1753 and altarpiece was made in 1887. The church, near vicarage (1860) and old cottage are named as National Built Herigate by National Board of Antiques.
Founded: 1703-1704 | Location: Länsi-Turunmaa, Finland

Seili

Seili (Själo in Swedish) is a small island in the Archipelago Sea. The island is known for its church and nature, a research institute and a former hospital. The first hospital on Seili was established in the 1620s. Before that there were two farms on the islands belonging to the Crown and thus available when the authorities looked for a suitable island to which the leper hospital at the outskirts of Turku could be moved ...
Founded: 1620s | Location: Länsi-Turunmaa, Finland

Kuitia

Kuitia is the oldest remaining manor house in Finland. It was built of stone probably in 1480s by noble Joachim Fleming. There has been a manor house in same location from the beginning of the 15th century. Earliest known owner of Kuitia was Maunu Tawast, a bishop of Turku, who donated manor to his brother in 1439.Because Danish soldiers plundered coastal villages in the 15th century, Kuitia was built also for defensive p ...
Founded: 1480 | Location: Länsi-Turunmaa, Finland

Jurmo Chapel

First seaman chapel was built to Jurmo probably in the 12th century and it has been a center of near archipelago people for centuries. According the legend Jurmo residents assisted ships to wreck purposely and robbed their cargo in the 16th century. That’s why Gustav Vasa, the king of Sweden, ordered to destroy the whole island and all inhabitants. All forests were burnt and only couple of local people survived aliv ...
Founded: 1846 | Location: Länsi-Turunmaa, Finland

Nötö Village & Chapel

Because of its central location, the island has been important to the communications and commerce in the region. The settlement of Nötö has been dated to the early 11th century, and the assumption is that vikings stopped by during their travels and possibly even settled on the island.A culturally and historically valuable village consisting of old farms ('hemman') still exists on the island. In the centr ...
Founded: 1757 (the chapel) | Location: Länsi-Turunmaa, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.