Puolalanpuisto – Puolala Park
Puolalanmäki is one of the most significant constructed environments in Turku City Centre. Originally founded as a scenic park, the panoramas that opened from the Puolalanmäki park have closed for good due to the blocks of flats built around it.
The north and east sides are bordered by blocks of flats built in the 1900–1920s and some wooden houses. The views on the side of the park facing the City Centre have been obstructed mainly by construction in the 1960s. The vegetation in Puolalanmäki park consists mainly of typical species from the beginning of the 1900s, especially old Finnish tree species and varieties. Like in Art Nouveau architecture, the national origins of the park vegetation were emphasized in the spirit of national romanticism.
The foundation work of the park started in 1889. The early phase of the park’s founding work was done gradually without an actual plan by filling crevices and planting some trees.
Stairs, stone gutters, and ponds were built and trees, bushes, and perennials were planted in the park in 1898. In 1900–1904 as much as 1700 loads of land were used and 972 metres of passageways were built in the park. In 1901–1908 817 trees, 344 bushes, and 465 perennials were planted in Puolalanmäki.
When the park was finished in 1909 its execution as a hill park followed the ideals of a landscape garden. The plantings in the Puolalanmäki park have been repaired and complemented during later decades.
In addition to Vartiovuori, also Puolalanmäki has an important role in the First of May celebration traditions of secondary school graduates. On the eve of the First of May, Puolalanmäki and especially the forecourt of the Turku Art Museum are transformed into places of celebration where the secondary school graduates have donned their white caps since 1949. Children have also been active users of the park since the very beginning – the first playground was built on the hill at the same time with the park. Currently there are three playgrounds maintained by the city on the hill. In winter one can follow a more than hundred-year-old tradition by going sledding over the rock hill of Puolalanmäki.
Surface area: 28,650 m2
Maintenance classification: A2, A3, EH
Trees: There are some very old hardwood trees growing in Puolalanpuisto, such as wych elms, maples, common lime trees and oaks. Additionally, there are also birches and conifers (arolla pines). The horse chestnuts in front of the Art Museum are a remarkable group of trees. Specialties are one-leaved ashes (Fraxinus excelsior ‘Diversifolia’) and a row of common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) next to Tuurintie.
Did you know...
- On the eastern slope of the hill there was a St George’s Hospital in the Middle Ages. Leprous patients were quarantined there before the hospital was moved to Seili island in the 1570s.
- Puolalanmäki – the stock of buildings in the area together with the park – is a nationally significant constructed environment.
- Starlings and redstarts that feel at home in the city bustle nest in the Puolalanmäki area.