Turku is a city on Finland’s southwest coast, near the mouth of the Aura River, in the Southwest Finland area. Turku as a town was established during the 13th century and was most likely created around the end of the 13th century, making it Finland’s oldest city. It soon rose to prominence as Finland’s most significant city, a position it held for hundreds of years. Turku remained the most populated city in Finland until the end of the 1840s, when Finland became part of the Russian Empire (1809) and the seat of the Grand Duchy of Finland was transferred to Helsinki (1812), and it remains a regional capital as well as an important commercial and cultural hub.
Because of its lengthy history, it has seen many significant events and has had a significant impact on Finnish history. Turku, together with Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city, was named the 2011 European Capital of Culture. It was designated as Finland’s official Christmas City in 1996.
Turku is a significant commercial and passenger seaport due to its position, with over three million people passing through the Port of Turku each year to Stockholm and Mariehamn.
Turku has a population of 183,811 people as of September 30, 2014, making it Finland’s sixth biggest city. The Turku sub-region has 303,492 residents on August 31, 2008, making it Finland’s third biggest urban area behind the Greater Helsinki area and the Tampere sub-region. The city is officially multilingual, with 5.2 percent of its residents identifying Swedish as their native language.