Turku

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Turku (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈturku]  ( listen); Swedish: Åbo [ˈoːbu]  ( listen) is a city situated on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River.[6][7] It is located in the region of Finland Proper. It is believed that Turku came into existence during the end of the 13th century which makes it the oldest city in Finland. Turku quickly became the most important city in Finland and retained that status for hundreds of years until Finland became part of the Russian Empire in 1809 and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland was transferred to Helsinki in 1812. After that Turku continued to be the most populous city in Finland until the end of the 1840s. Today Turku remains a regional capital and is an important location for business and culture.

Because of its long history it has been the site of many important historical events and has extensively influenced Finnish history. For the year 2011, Turku has been designated to be the European Capital of Culture together with Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. In 1996 it was declared the official Christmas City of Finland.[8]

Due to its location, Turku is a notable commercial and passenger seaport city with over three million passengers travelling through Port of Turku each year to Stockholm and Mariehamn.[6]

As of 31 October 2010, Turku’s population was 177,504, which makes it the fifth largest city in Finland by population.[2] As of 31 August 2008 there were 303,492 inhabitants living in the Turku sub-region, which makes it the third largest urban area in Finland after the Greater Helsinki area and Tampere sub-region. The city is officially bilingual as 5.2 percent of its population identify as speaking Swedish as a mother-tongue.[3]

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