Turku, or Åbo in Swedish, is a city in Finland, founded in 1229. It is located in the south-western of the country at the mouth of the Aura river and due to its history and location, over 5% of its inhabitants are Swedish speakers. It belongs to the historical province of Finland Proper and the current administrative province of Western Finland. Turku with its population of about 172,000 is the fifth biggest city of Finland.
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Until 1812, Turku was the capital of Finland - then part of the kingdom of Sweden. When the territory fell to Russia, the Russians moved the capital to Helsinki (more convenient for the new rulers) where it has been ever since.
Today Turku remains the seat of the Archbishop of Finland. The 14th century cathedral there is one of only 3 remaining brick buildings of that date. Turku Castle was founded in the 13th century, built on an island to guard the entrance to the river. As the Finnish land mass has been gradually rising ever since the end of the last ice-age, the island was assimilated into the mainland and the castle now stands some distance from the river.
Turku held was the site of the Academy of Åbo from 1640 until 1850 when, after a disastrous fire, it was moved tothe new capital, Helsinki. Today there are three institutions of higher education in the city.