The first settlement of the Turku region after the ice age took place roughly from 4200-3300 BC. The settlement expanded as the land rose, and gradually it drew the traders to the River Aura. Being the oldest port of Finland, Turku is mentioned under the name Abuwa in a geographical presentation from 1154 by Al Idris, a learned Arabian in Palermo. In the Middle Ages the Port and the City spread along the riverbank. There were frequent foreign connections from the Port, especially to the Hanseatic town of Danzig. After the age of the windjammers, steamships took over and started regular traffic to Stockholm in the 1830’s.
Turku was an important wartime port during both the Crimean War and the First World War. The Pansio military harbour was established during the Second World War, and today the principal base of the Finnish Navy is located in Pansio.
The location of the Port at the mouth of the River Aura made it necessary to start dredging early on in order to provide sufficient draught. The first official port organisation was the dredging committee that was founded in 1739. The dredging committee gradually grew into the Port Authority, and the Port of Turku developed over time into a modern passenger and unitised cargo harbour.
The history of the Port of Turku is not just a history of trade and shipping, but very much a history of workers and entrepreneurs in the Port. They have kept the Port of Turku running for more than 850 years in order to enhance the connections from Finland to Scandinavia, Continental Europe and Russia.