Culture Walk 3

The Old Great Square
Turku
The Old Great Square is the former central hub of Turku. This third section of the Culture Walk introduces you to the stores along the medieval street of Luostarin Välikatu as well as the site of the declaration of Christmas Peace, Brinkkala Mansion, and the beautiful surroundings of the market and park – the venue for various events throughout the year.

1. Medieval Main Street

Medieval Main Street is a beautiful yet hidden street dating from medieval times. Once the artery of the city, it served as the liveliest and most important avenue before and after the many fires Turku had to endure. It leads pedestrians to either the Dominican monastery at one end or The Old Great Square and Turku Cathedral at the other. Medieval Main Street exudes the atmosphere of the middle ages and has often been a source of inspiration for both filmmakers and photographers alike.

  • Top Tip: Time travel to medieval times along the red-walled alley and absorb some European vibes listening to classical music whilst enjoying a baguette.

2. Brinkkala Mansion

Brinkkala Mansion is renowned amongst Finns as the site for the annual declaration of Christmas Peace. From 1816 until 1986 it also served as the first police station of Finland, signs of which can still be seen in Brinkkala Mansion’s inner court. Examples of this former use include the bars across the windows and old police signs on the wall in Finnish, Swedish and Russian. In fact, even the Russian Emperor Alexander and the Grand Duke of Finland stopped by during the visit of 1812, when Finland had fallen under Russian rule.

At the start of the 1980’s the inner court served as parking for the police department, but has since been taken over for cultural activities. Today’s travellers can enjoy the offerings of local subcultures such as movie presentations, small concerts, vegan food and design shop souvenirs.

  • Top Tip: If you miss out on the declaration of the Christmas Peace, don't worry! Brinkkala Mansion is a source of culture throughout the year.

3. The Old Great Square

The Old Great Square is not just a picturesque park surrounded by grand buildings, it’s also a cache of stories stretching from medieval times to the present day. Originally the heart of the city, the Old Great square was the political, commercial and ecclesiastical centre. As well as being a place for meetings and debate, people would also gather for the more gruesome occasion of a public execution.

Nowadays the atmosphere is much less morbid as tourists stroll around admiring the Imperial style buildings flanking the square as well as Turku’s oldest building, Turku Cathedral. The square continues to draw plenty of crowds as it hosts various cultural activities throughout the year.

  • Top Tip: Dine like an Emperor at Pinella, one of the finest restaurants in Turku, then feast some more on the views whilst strolling through the park of The Old Great Square!