Top Historic Sights in Turku, Finland

Explore the historic highlights of Turku

Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova

Aboa Vetus (Old Turku) is a museum of archaeological history. Originally, plans were for only Ars Nova, the contemporary art museum, but during its construction a number of structures and artifacts dating back to the Middle Ages were discovered, and the archaeological excavation that was commissioned eventually transformed into Aboa Vetus. The two museums were combined in 2004.The ruins excavated in the Convent Quarter or ...
Founded: ca. 15th century | Location: Turku, Finland

Turku Cathedral

Turku Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and the country's national shrine. It is the central church of the Archdiocese of Turku and the seat of the Archbishop of Finland. It is also regarded as one of the major records of Finnish architectural history.The cathedral was originally built out of wood in the late 13th century, and was dedicated as the main cathedral of Finland in 13 ...
Founded: 1400-1410 | Location: Turku, Finland

Turku Castle

Turku castle is a national monument and one the most remarkable medieval castles in Finland. It's also one of the largest existing castles in Scandinavia. A history of Turku castle begins from the year 1280. The Swedish conquerors of Finland intended it originally as a military fortress.During 15th and 16th centuries its defences were strengthened and living quarters were added. The castle served as a bastion and administ ...
Founded: 1280 | Location: Turku, Finland

Forum Marinum

The Forum Marinum Maritime Centre exhibits seafaring history and traditions of the nautical culture in the southwest of Finland, history of the naval forces and the maritime history collections of Åbo Akademi University and Provincial Museum.In addition to permanent and temporary exhibitions there are several museum ships located to the museum or near Aurajoki river. Most well-known ships are full-rigger Suomen Jousten ( ...
Founded: 1999 | Location: Turku, Finland

Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum

Luostarinmäki is the only unified part of the Turku city that survived the conflagration of 1827. The area consists of 18 blocks of original 18th century – early 19th century buildings on their original location. Today Luostarinmäki is an outdoor museum that offers over 30 workshops from different fields of craftmanship display the City's handicrafts history and craftsmen's dwellings.During the summer season, the muse ...
Founded: ca. 1800 | Location: Turku, Finland

Vartiovuori Observatory

Vartiovuori observatory is the former observatory of the Royal Academy of Turku. Building was completed 1819 and it was designed by German architect Carl Ludvig Engel. By its style, the neoclassical observatory is typical work of Engel and it has obvious similarities to Helsinki University Observatory and Pulkovo Observatory (in St. Petersburg, Russia) designed also by him. Building is located on top of the Vartiovuori hi ...
Founded: 1819 | Location: Turku, Finland

Koroinen Church

Koroinen was the residence of Bishop of Finland between years 1229 and 1300. in 1300 the bishop seat was moved couple of kilometres further down the River Aura, to the present-day Cathedral of Turku. There were at least two wooden churches in Koroinen built in the 14th century. The latest one was probably a stone church. It was later destroyed by the Victual Brothers in 1396. Archaeologists have found remains of three wa ...
Founded: 1229 | Location: Turku, Finland

Archangel Michael's church

Archangel Michael's Church was designed by famous architect Lars Sonck and finished in 1905. When Sonck won the competition for the church in 1894, he was only a 23-year old architectural student. The neogothic style red-brick church dominates the western skyline of the city of Turku. It’s one of the most popular wedding churches in Turku being able to seat 1,800 people.
Founded: 1899-1905 | Location: Turku, Finland

St. Catherine's Church

The Church of St. Catherine in Nummi suburb represents the medieval church building tradition. The construction began in the 1340s, the sacristy was completed first and the church later. Bishop Hemming and Bishop Thomas of Växjö consecrated the church on 22 January 1351.Finnish National Board of Antiquities has named the church site as a national built heritage.
Founded: 1351 | Location: Turku, Finland

St Mary's Church

The St. Mary's Church is a medieval stone church located in Maaria. There are no records as to when the present church was built, but the work was probably started in the mid or late 15th century. According to Markus Hiekkanen, the church was probably built in the 1440s. On the basis of the style of the closets, the gables were constructed about 50 years later. There are medieval limestone paintings on the walls, which a ...
Founded: 1440 | Location: Turku, Finland

Brinkhall Manor

Brinkhall manor house dates back to the 16th century. The current main building was built in 1793 and it was the first neo-classical manor house in Finland. It was designed by Gabriel von Bondorff. The interior is from 1920s. Brinkhall is also known as remarkable gardens. The English garden was one of the first in this style in Finland in the beginning of 19th century.The manor is today owned by the Finnish Cultural Herit ...
Founded: 1793 | Location: Turku, Finland

Ravattula Church Ruins

On Ristimäki hill in Ravattula, remains of an early medieval church were found in 2013. The remains have been dated to the late 12th century–early 13th century, in other words to the end of the Finnish Crusade period and the Early Middle Ages. The church is so far the oldest in Finland and also the only one dating from the period before the establishment of Finnish parish system. Ristimäki is exceptionally ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Turku, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.