Besides being one of my favorite cities, Turku is also home to my favorite place to visit and it is considered one of the biggest and most visited places in the country. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bar, discotheque, or anything like that. It’s a CASTLE.
Yep. The castle, which was first founded around the 12th century, has become one of the most visited museums in Finland.
The heyday of this museum/castled dates back to the 11th or 12th centuries, where Turku and Finland was still one of the provinces of the Swedish Kingdom. Initially it was established to serve as a bastion and administrative building for this province. However, around the 13th century, its strength was tested during an attack by Russian invaders from Novgorod.
It is not without reason that Turku Castle is considered one of the most visited museums in the country. Not only is the entrance fee affordable, but the museum also offers more than a visitor could imagine. Meandering around from one chamber to another, we can witness the history related to the castle, including the history of fashion during the time and have a little fun by trying on an armored suit in the knight’s chambers.
Despite restorations made in the past, Turku Castle maintains its own individual shape that really makes us feel as if we are still in that era. The museum’s workers also dress in medieval era costumes.
This castle is undoubtedly large. We hardly succeeded in strolling around the chambers without getting lost. Don’t forget to take a mini map from the reception area before you head out to explore.
Turku Cathedral is the other oldest building in town and also serves as the city’s most recognizable symbol. It is located not too far from the castle. The measurement I use is just an estimation, of course. It took us 30 minutes, walking on the crunchy snow, just to get there. The facade of the cathedral is best described as a mix of Roman, Gothic, and Neo Gothic, which looks modest, rather than lavish.
Before my feet finally stepped through the entrance, I used to think that this cathedral is not so different from any other cathedral found in popular tourist areas all over the world, with unbearable crowds or maybe even deafening silence. I was wrong. Turku Cathedral has become the first cathedral I have ever visited during my journey and also my favorite. Therefore, anytime I have a chance to visit cathedrals in other countries, I unfortunately keep comparing them with Turku Cathedral.
The interior is not much different from any other cathedral, but the atmosphere which I felt in that moment was simply unforgettable. Sitting on the bench, listening to the organ play until I got bored, is the scene that will be etched in my memory forever.
There weren’t so many people or tourists. It was serene and full of joy.