Brahenpuisto – Brahe Park
The first public urban parks were built in the 19th century with comfort, recreation, and merry-making in mind. One of the oldest parks in Turku is Brahenpuisto, which is located next to Turku Cathedral. The first ‘horti’ were created in the area already in the latter half of the 16th century. Planting of the park started after the Great Fire of Turku in 1833, and Brahenpuisto was renovated and expanded in 1886-1888. The park got its characteristic monument, the statue of Per Brahe by sculptor Walter Runeberg, in 1888. At that time the statue stood on a sand field which raised criticism. This is why City Gardener Lars Mauritz Fabian Hammarberg submitted a proposal for a renewal of Brahenpuisto in 1899. The proposal included growing grass around the statue and decorating it with medallion and wallpaper plantings consisting of thousands of flowers. Based on Hammarberg's plan, the square opening in the direction of the statue of Henrik Gabriel Porthan was narrowed, which resulted in lowered visibility between the parks.
Surface area: 7,200 m²
Maintenance classification: A1 Representative green area
Trees: The original trees were planted in 1888. In the park there are, for example, wych elms (Ulmus glabra), maples, common limes, silver maples and Caucasian wing nut trees. There is also an Amur cork tree which defies its old age. It was planted in 1896 as part of the tree donation by cork industrialist Wilen. During the decades the trees have been replaced by new ones and during the last few years the aim has been to bring back the original look of the park. Many of the old trees have had to be felled due to their condition, as many elms have been infected with a fungus.
The oldest parks in Turku
The best known and most valuable historical central parks in Turku are located between Turku Cathedral and the Old Great Square. The oldest plantings in the parks are from as far back as the 1830s. The parks in the area were part of the Capital of Culture Park in 2011, as Turku was also nominated as the European Capital of Culture. The history of the tree plantings and gardens in Turku reaches back hundreds of years, and it is often said that the entire gardening culture in Finland sprouted from the fertile soil of the Aura River basin. The city plan confirmed in 1828 created the preconditions for a green city structure and public urban parks.