My Favourite Place
My favourite place in Turku (in addition to the river side, but that's only during summer) is the castle. Couple of reasons: it's a beautiful place surrounded by a lovely park (even though at the moment it isn't so lovely with all the flowers and leaves missing from the trees) and it has an interesting history. Also it's in the harbour so it goes well together with my obsession with sea. You can see it and smell it from the castle.
Turku Catle was founded in the 13th century and it is the oldest medieval building in Finland. It was built as a governing entity in the Eastern part of the Swedish Kingdom. The most interesting resident it ever had, in my opinion, was the Queen Kristina who was raised to be a queen, became one when she became an adult and who gave up the throne when she converted into a Catholic. This year there are exhibitions about her life in the castle and around the museums of Turku. There is also a movie about her coming out this year and it was filmed in and around the Turku Castle.
The castle has been renovated after the wars because there wasn't much left of it but still it has been made to resemble the medieval version of it, which means that there are low and tight hallways, very uneven staircases, not that many windows and rather low doorways.
As a child I loved visiting the castle because there were all these small corridors snaking around where you weren't allowed to go and holes in the walls where one could hide. It's still cool but without a guided tour it's little bit useless to go around the castle: there are no furniture or any signs in the various rooms describing what they were used for.
The castle isn't quite as beautiful as the fairy tale castles in Central Europe (from which Walt Disney got his inspiration to for example Sleeping Beauty's and Beauty and the Beast's castles), but it's still really cool because there are very few castles in Finland. And it's a bit rough in outlook so I guess it fits the Finnish landscape and climate.