The Sports Park is an urban park that combines sports and exercise activities, and where the fields and courts of various sports have been situated in a parklike and nowadays even forestlike environment.
The park and its functions can be divided into several sections: the Paavo Nurmi Stadium and its immediate surroundings form the functional centre and heart of the park, from which several routes run to the fields and courts on the edges of the park.
A fitness track circles the area and is bordered by an herb-rich forest zone, which also functions as a green area that frames the entire park. The Sports Park has two playgrounds and several historical buildings.
The Sports Park was established when the city rented the area behind Samppalinna mill to the freshly founded Åbo Idrottsvänner – Turun urheilunystävät ry in 1893.
First a velodrome and tennis courts were built into the park, and athletics fields were finished in the autumn of the founding year. In 1910 a substantial reduction of the area of the park was considered because more space was needed for new villas. The proposal was finally rejected and instead it was decided that the park would be extended towards Itäinen Pitkäkatu.
Changing rooms and a running track made of crushed coal were officially opened in 1926. At that time Paavo Nurmi ran the 1,500 metre race with Edvin Wilde from Sweden – the event was witnessed by 10,000 spectators.
The city took control of Sports Park in 1943, because the resources of a small club were not enough to maintain the park. Entrance fees were also abandoned at the same time. Under the control of the city the park began to become enlivened and transform into a more versatile functional whole.
After the wars the facilities of the Sports Park were not enough for the growing population, and sports facilities had begun to be built also elsewhere in the city. The stadium with its stands for 4,000 spectators was finished in 1989 and was named Paavo Nurmi Stadium in 1997. That year was the 100th anniversary of Nurmi’s birth.
Surface area: 176,990 m2
Maintenance classification: A2, A3, B2, C1, EH, U, O
Trees: There are over 85 different arboreal plants growing in the Sports Park, including some rare ones such as sycamores (Acer pseudoplatanus), black poplars (Populus nigra), and white ashes (Fraxinus americana). A Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and a white pine (Pinus strobus) grow around the biological Museum.
Did you know that
- Karikonlenkki, the 1,400 metre fitness trail that goes around Sports Park, got its name from a legendary sports coach Paavo Karikko who was also the first municipal sports coach in Finland in 1938–1969.
- The wooden shingled windmill standing on top of Samppalinna hill was built in 1859–61. It is the only remaining windmill in the City of Turku. The mill owner’s house at the foot of the mill dates back to the same period.