Construction of the Turku Castle during the nine centuries.

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The layout of Turku Castle consists of the Medieval keep and Renaissance bailey. The keep consists of a square fort with two square gateway towers; the thickness of the walls at the base is some 5 m.

In the Middle Ages the castle was surrounded by a moat conjoining on the River Aura, the castle effectively lying on an island. The keep was completed in the early 15th century. The construction of the bailey was begun in the late 15th century and finished in the 16th. The bailey is not as heavily fortified as the keep, but it has several turrets. The Renaissance construction work included heavy modification of nearly all the rooms in the older medieval part of the castle. Since the Renaissance no additions have been made to the castle.

Over the next few centuries, the modest military fortification grew into a massive greystone castle, whose solid walls have witnessed many milestones in Nordic history. The castle has been subject to numerous sieges and several battles have been waged aside its walls. Of all Finnish castles, Turku castle has the most warlike history besides Vyborg castle and Olavinlinna.

The Castle's heyday was in the mid-16th century during the reign of Duke John of Finland and Katarina Jagellonica. That was when the Renaissance Floor and King's and Queen's hall were built, along with other features.

The castle was the center of the historical province of Finland Proper, and the administrative center of all of Finland. Its strong walls and dungeons also served as the state prison for centuries; even today, a prison is colloquially referred to as linna (castle) in Finnish. The castle has been the place of many historical events; in 1573-1577, for example, the deposed Swedish queen Karin Månsdotter were kept prisoner here.

The castle was damaged by Soviet aircraft in the beginning days of the Continuation War 1941. Restoration of the castle to its former Renaissance glory had begun before the war and went on gradually after it, over the decades. The renovation was complete in 1987 and the castle was handed over on October 12, 1993 to the City of Turku which is entrusted with its operation for the Finnish state, its owner.

The castle is Finland's most visited museum, with attendance reaching 200,000 in some years. In addition, many of the larger rooms are used for municipal functions.

Source: Wikipedia

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