Turku Castle, Linnankatu, Finland (with Map & Photos)

Turku Castle, also known as Abo Castle, is one of the oldest and largest medieval buildings in Finland. Today, within its walls is the historical museum of the city of Turku, and on holidays medieval feasts are held for the common people.

Turku Castle
Turku Castle

Myths and facts

The first stone of Turku Castle was laid in 1280, when the Swedes, who owned the region, decided to establish a military fort. Over time, the fortress became the main administrative center of Swedish rule in Finland. 

Over the following centuries, the building was repeatedly completed and expanded. The last significant restructuring was carried out in the 16th century, when the son of the Swedish king Gustav Vasa, Duke Johan, settled in Turku. Like other castles in Europe, the fortress, which lost its military significance, was turned into a luxurious Renaissance palace. Magnificent feasts were held in the castle, and knightly tournaments were held on the neighboring island of Ruissalo.

Turku Castle
Turku Castle

The fun in Turku ended with the ascension to the throne of Eric XIV - Johan's brother, with whom they were in open conflict. Eric's army captured Turku Castle and Juhan was thrown into prison. Later, Eric XIV himself with his wife and children ended up in the same dungeon.

After a fire in 1614, the castle was finally abandoned. Only towards the end of the 19th century, restoration work began, which was completed after the Second World War. Today, the castle is experiencing its new heyday as one of the most visited museums in Finland.

What to watch

Turku Castle is a square fort with five-meter thick walls and two quadrangular towers. In the Middle Ages, like many castles in England, Germany, or castles in France, the fortress was surrounded by a moat connected to a river. Nowadays, the water level in the river has dropped significantly and the coastline has moved further.

Turku Castle
Turku Castle

Today the castle is the local history museum of Turku. Popular attractions include 16th-century stone and bronze sculptures, including images of Duke Johan and his wife Catherine, the prison where King Eric XIV was imprisoned, a collection of medieval toys and wooden sculptures, and ancient fire-fighting equipment. There is also an interesting collection of coins, medals and weapons.

Wedding ceremonies are held in the castle chapel, and Renaissance rooms can be rented for banquets. Medieval feasts are held in the restaurant on holidays.

Not far from the castle is the main cathedral of Finland - Turku Cathedral. Olafsborg Castle is located in Savonlinna. If you are looking for a beautiful castle that you can rent for banquets, see also the castles of the Czech Republic: Gluboka, Loket, Krivoklat, or Swiss castles: Chillon, Habsburg, Gruyères, Werdenberg.

Turku Castle is open daily except Monday: on Wednesday from 12.00 to 20.00, on other days from 10.00 to 18.00.
Cost: 8 €, children - 4.50 €, children under 7 years old - free of charge. A family ticket costs 17.50 €.

Turku Castle Map