Turku Castle | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Turku Castle

Turku, Southern Finland, Finland

Lucy Davidson

22 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Turku Castle

Turku Castle (Turun Linna) is a large medieval castle in Turku, Finland, which has served as a stronghold as well as a granary and a prison. In fact, it is said to be Finland’s largest intact medieval building.

History of Turku Castle

Begun in approximately 1280, Turku Castle was constructed at a time when Finland, then Eastland, was part of Sweden. The castle’s role was as a centre of administration and a way to defend this territory.

Turku Castle would be expanded and further fortified over the coming centuries, eventually reaching a recognisable state in the 16th century under Gustav Vasa and his son. Though it has undergone several repairs since then, its structure remains very similar to as it originally stood.

In terms of military action, Turku Castle often featured in local or regional battles. In 1318, it also played a more international role when it was attacked by Russian invaders. Over time, Turku Castle’s military importance waned and it became a 18th and 19th century prison before coming a museum of its own history and that of the Turku region, a part it still plays today.

This site also features as one of our top tourist attractions of Finland.

Turku Castle Today

Today, Turku Castle is Finland’s most visited museum, with an attendance sometimes reaching around 200,000 annually. In addition, many of the larger rooms are used for municipal functions.

Highlights include a collection of medieval wooden religious statues in the fascinating Sture Church and Nun’s Chapel, the King’s State Room, the King’s and Queen’s Halls, and exhibition rooms on the attic floor which showcase highlights from the Museum Centre’s collections.

The permanent exhibition in the Bailey focuses on everyday life in the castle, its festivities, court, and staff, as well as the castle’s changing function as a defensive structure, as a staging post for tax and trade goods, as a barracks, and as a museum.

Getting to Turku Castle

From the centre of Turku, the castle is reachable in around 10 minutes by car via the Linnankatu/Slottsgatan road. There is also an extensive public transport system – take the ‘1’ bus from Turku harbour, and get off at Hamngatan then walk 2 minutes to the castle. Equally, the castle is a scenic 40 minute walk from the centre.

 

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