860 years of trade and seafaring

The Port of Turku has served as Finland’s gate to the west for more than 860 years. The earliest references to the port date back to the 12th century, but historical research suggests that vessels sailed to the River Aura from the entire Baltic Sea region already in the Iron Age.

The Port was set up in a natural trading place at the mouth of the River Aura, a meeting point of the east and west for a thousand years. In the Middle Ages the Port and the City spread along the riverbank. Ships sailed to and from the key Baltic ports already in those days, and connections were frequent especially to the Hanseatic town of Danzig. The international Turku was a natural choice as the capital of Finland until the year 1812. The government offices that remained in Turku were finally moved to the new capital after the Great Fire of Turku, which almost completely destroyed the city in 1827.

In the early 19th century, however, Turku was still the leading port in Finland. The age of the windjammers was coming to an end, and steamships started regular traffic to Stockholm, St Petersburg and Helsinki already in the 1830s. The increase in the size of the ships presented new challenges to the port operations, and in the early 20th century the port operations were first transferred to Kanavaniemi, and later the Port was expanded to the Linnanaukko area, West Harbour and Pansio Harbour.

By the year 2000, the Port of Turku had become the leading port and distribution centre for Scandinavian traffic in Finland. Passenger traffic is operated with modern vessels designed for comfortable travelling. The businesses are served by frequent connections to the Baltic Sea ports and highly efficient logistics centres. The development of the Port continues together with other logistics players, the City of Turku which owns the port enterprise, and various stakeholders.

Please click on the link below if you would like to look at old pictures of Port of  Turku in our material bank.  You must not use any pictures without obtaining an access rights contract with Port of Turku Ltd.
History of the Port of Turku in pictures

You will find our history video also on Port of Turku’s YouTube channel
History of the Port of Turku - YouTube