Friday, September 16, 2011
Turku Castle 4.5.1961
Turku Castle is a monument of Finnish history situated in the city of Turku in Finland. Together with Turku Cathedral, the castle is one of the oldest buildings still in use in Finland. Turku Castle is the largest surviving medieval building in Finland and one of the largest surviving medieval castles in Scandinavia. It stands as a national monument, on the banks of the Aura River, as it has done since the 14th century. The history of Turku Castle stretches back to the 1280s. The castle's heyday was in the mid 16th century, during the rule of Duke Johan and Katarina Jagellonica. Among others, the Renaissance floor was built at that time.
Turku Castle was founded on an island on the estuary of Aurajoki River in the 1280s as the administrative castle of the Swedish Crown. The water level was three and half meters higher than now in those days, therefore, the castle was located on an island. The castle was originally built in the form of a rectangular fortified camp. The fortified camp became a closed castle in the early 14th century, and the castle was divided into a main castle and bailey. Under the Swedish Duke Johan between 1556 and 1563, Turku Castle was renovated into a handsome renaissance castle; this is when its main features became the size they are today. In the 1630s the bailey became the official residence for Pietari Brahe, the governor general of Finland. In the late 18th century, after the county governor and Higher Regional Court had moved from the castle to town, the castle underwent significant changes. The bailey became a prison and the main castle became a granary. The castle functioned as a prison until the 1890s after which the historical museum was placed in the bailey. Turku Castle was damaged by Soviet aircraft in the beginning days of the Continuation War 1941. Restoration of the castle to its former Renaissance glory had begun before the war and went on gradually after it, over the decades. The renovation was complete in 1987 and the castle was handed over on October 12, 1993 to the City of Turku which is entrusted with its operation for the Finnish state, its owner.The fully repaired castle was opened to the public in 1961. Turku Castle is a significant landmark at the mouth of Aurajoki River, and it is surrounded by the harbour and the small-scale industry and strorage areas that go with it. The Castle is part of the Finnish cultural and architectural heritage as an architectural monument, a museum and as premises for distinguished celebrations. The Castle has been rented to Turku City for the use of the Museum Centre of Turku. The castle is Finland's most visited museum, with attendance reaching 200,000 in some years. In addition, many of the larger rooms are used for municipal functions. My dear friend Pia gave me this cover postmarked 4.5.1961.