Pia sent me this nice FDC, which commemorated the 750th anniversary of the City of Turku. It was issued on 31.3.1979. The stamp features the Turku Cathedral and Castle, Brinkkala house, and the Brahe statue. The Brinkala Mansion is best known for the traditional proclamation of Christmas peace, which has been given from the Brinkkala Mansion balcony each Christmas Eve at 12:00 since 1886. Count Per Brahe the Younger (February 18, 1602 – September 2, 1680) was a Swedish soldier and statesman. He was a Privy Councilor from 1630 and Lord High Steward from 1640. He was a stickler for punctuality and efficiency. "Kreivin aikaan", or "at Count's Time" in the Finnish language means "at the correct/good time". The base of his statue in Turku bears the inscription "I was well pleased with the land and the land with me".
The City of Turku came into existence at Koroinen, a few kilometres from the Turku market square. Trading took place on this historic site as early as in the 1150's, and in 1229, the bishopric was transferred there as well. The year 1229 is also regarded as the year in which the City of Turku was founded. In the 1200's, much was happening in Turku. The Dominican monastery of St. Olof was being built on Samppalinna Hill, and the Castle of Turku was founded as well as the cathedral. The bishopric was transferred to Turku in the 1290's, and from that point on, the city held an important position in the Swedish-Finnish state for the next 300 years.
Finland's first university was founded in Turku in 1640, even though the number of inhabitants in the city was not very large at that time. The staple town charter (the right to conduct foreign trade) guaranteed, however, that trading was brisk. In 1827, a large section of Turku was dramatically destroyed in a fire. The burnt city needed an altogether new town plan, which was drawn up by C. L. Engel the following year. Because of its long history it has been the site of many important historical events and has extensively influenced Finnish history. For the year 2011, Turku has been designated to be the European Capital of Culture together with Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. In 1996 it was declared the official Christmas City of Finland.
Due to its location, Turku is a notable commercial and passenger seaport city with over three million passengers traveling through Port of Turku each year to Stockholm and Mariehamn. As of 31 January 2011, Turku’s population was 177,430, which makes it the fifth largest city in Finland by population. As of 31 August 2008 there were 303,492 inhabitants living in the Turku sub-region, which makes it the third largest urban area in Finland after the Greater Helsinki area and Tampere sub-region.