Turku: European Capital of Culture 2011

I always love reading about the new European Culture Capitals every year, because typically those cities get lots of cash to put on a good show and upgrade their tourism infrastructure.  This year is no different, with two great nominees in the line up.  Today I’d like to highlight Turku, Finland’s former capital city.  I’ve mentioned it before as a great daytrip from Helsinki, and by the looks of it, Turku is planning on a wizz bang party for most of 2011.


River Aura inTurku by Joni-Pekka Luomala

Turku is one of the larger cities in Finland, so you’ll find a lot of great restaurants and bars/pubs.  There’s a lot of old world architecture as well – a great balance between an urban area and a quiet town.

What’s on for the culture capital?  Well, here are some things that caught my eye:

  • A special event for Easter at the Museum of Agriculture.  Something about Easter eggs perhaps?
  • Live jazz nights all spring and summer
  • A “modern electronic” music festival – Turku has a thriving club scene so I suspect this will attract some good European talent
  • The Tall Ships regatta, which I’ve seen in Amsterdam and loved, will be in Turku in August
  • “Pitch Black” gallery nights, where you’ll be led around a guided tour of an art gallery…in the dark.
  • Comics Rule: over the summer, some of the road signage will be turned into comics.  (It looks like they might be in Finnish, or Swedish – the city is bilingual – so they might be more funny if you ask a local for the explanation.)

So looks like Turku should be on your travel itinerary for 2011.

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