Sunday, July 10, 2011

Turku, Finland

Our first stop in Finland was the port city of Turku. This is actually the oldest city in Finland, and was once the country's capital. We recently heard that Helsinki was made the capital in the early 19th century when Russia took control of Finland from the Swedes. The Russians decided that Turku was too close to Sweden and thus too much of a risk, so opted for Helsinki, which is further to the south and east! (That's my very informal history via Finnish friends--you'll have to fact-check that yourself!)

We were met in Turku by second cousins of the Professor's mother, and we were well taken care of by our Finnish guides. In addition to some sightseeing, we were able to meet many of the 3rd and 4th cousins from this branch of the family. It was particularly fun to see our kids connecting with their Finnish relatives, forging some friendships we hope will continue the trans-Atlantic connection!

The market square, or Tori, in Turku. They were selling lots of garden plants and everything was so lovely and green!

Another market--this one was indoors. It has been a marketplace for well over a hundred years, probably much longer. 

Turku has a canal through the center of the old town section.
It has been developed as a lovely green space and walking path.

Another view of the canal.

The Turku Cathedral. It was first built in the 13 century, out of wood,
then renovated and expanded using stone in the 14th and 15th centuries.
It is said to contain the oldest surviving wall in Finland.

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