Porthaninpuisto – Porthan Park
One of the oldest parks in Turku is Porthaninpuisto, which is located next to the Old Great Square. The first construction work in the park was finished in 1835. Nils Henrik Pinello had a pavilion built in the middle of the western park in the area which was then called Nikolaintori. It was opened in June 1849, but it had to be moved to the side when the statue of Henrik Gabriel Porthan was erected on the same spot. Both Pinella and the Porthan monument – the first public sculpture in Finland – shaped the nature of the park significantly. The lively social life in Porthaninpuisto continued until the turn of the 1910s when the fate of Pinella hung in the balance. Operations at Pinella continued almost without interruption, but after the Market Hall was completed the shop facilities behind the colonnade were first transformed into storage, then into a public toilet, and in 1930 into a petrol station, until in 1975 social life returned to Pinella.
Porthaninpuisto and the Old Great Square have become nationally well known because of the Declaration of the Christmas Peace, during which thousands of listeners gather into the square and park to follow this traditional Christmas opening. Also, many major summer events, such as the Night of the Arts and the Medieval Market, have found Porthaninpuisto to be a suitable place for organizing cultural events. In recent years Porthaninpuisto has been repaired and renovated by taking advantage of old maps and photos.
Maintenance classification: A1 Representative green area
Surface area: 7,100 m²
Trees: Some of the trees in Porthaninpuisto are from the 1830s and they are intended to be preserved. The plantings in the park have been renewed in stages. For example, due to the erection of the Flow of Time artwork at the edge of the Great Old Square, an entire row of trees was replaced on the border of the square and the park in 2000. In the park there are common lime trees, maples, wych elms, horse chestnuts, red ashes and Caucasian wing nuts, among other species.
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 conditions for a green city structure and public urban parks.