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Turku(to͝or`ko͞o), Swed. Åbo, city (1998 pop. 170,931), capital of Western Finland prov., SW Finland, at the mouth of the Aurajoki River on the Baltic Sea. The center of the fertile agricultural region of SW Finland, it is also the country's largest winter port and an important industrial city. Its manufactures include shipbuilding, machinery, food, and textiles; tourism is also important. Known as the "cradle of Finnish culture," Turku is among Finland's oldest cities. Swedish Crusaders landed on the site in 1157. It was the seat (1220) of the first bishop of Finland, and the capital of Finland until 1812. The national university was in Turku from 1640 to 1827, when a fire destroyed almost the entire city and the university was moved (1828) to Helsinki. The Treaty of Åbo, by which Sweden ceded part of SE Finland to Russia, was signed in the city in 1743. The great cathedral was begun in the early 13th cent. The 13th-century castle, burned in 1614 and restored in 1961, is now a historic museum. Turku has a Finnish university (founded 1917) and a Swedish university (founded 1918).
(Swedish, Åbo), a city and port in southwestern Finland, situated at the mouth of the Aura River on the Baltic Sea. Capital of the làâni (province) of Turku-Pori. Population: 164,000; with suburbs, about 230,000 (1975). Turku is a major commercial, industrial, and cultural center of Finland. It is an important transportation junction, with ferry service to Sweden. Industry includes shipbuilding, machine building, food processing, oil refining, and the production of textiles and electrical equipment. The city has two universities.
Turku arose on the site of the Finnish trading settlement of Ko-roinen, which was conquered by the Swedes in the mid-12th century. The earliest references to Turku are found in Arab sources for the year 1154 and in the Novgorod Chronicle for the year 1198. In the mid-13th century the city became the stronghold of the Catholic Church and the center of the Swedish administration in Finland.
The country’s first newspapers and schools appeared in Turku. A university (the Academy, 1640) and the Economic Society (1797) were founded in the city. From 1809 to 1812 (in actuality until 1819), it was the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland. After World War II, Turku became one of the centers of the revolutionary working-class movement of Finland.
Turku’s gridlike layout dates from the 19th century, when the city was rebuilt after the fire of 1827 (architect C. L. Engel). Architectural monuments include a Romanesque cathedral (13th—15th centuries), a Romanesque castle (begun in 1280, additions made in the 16th and 17th centuries; now the City Historical Museum), and numerous Empire-style buildings, which occupy entire blocks; one such building is the former Trapp House (1831–33, architects C. F. Bassi and P. J. Gillich; now the main building of the Swedish university). Noteworthy modern buildings include the complex of the Finnish university (1951–58, architect A. Ervi) and structures by A. H. H. Aalto, E. Bryggman, and V. Revell. Other points of interest include a museum of Scandinavian art, the Aaltonen Museum, the Sibelius Museum, and the Handicrafts Museum, which survived the fire in the old part of Turku.
REFERENCESPiliavskii, V. I. Turku. Leningrad, 1974.
Othman, H. Turku: Åbo. [Helsinki, 1953.]
Bonin, V. von. Turku-Åbo. [Turku] 1967.