Turku is built on a series of low hills astride the river Aura at the point where it runs into the Baltic Sea. It was for centuries the capital of the country until, in 1812, the Russian Tzar decided that it was too close to the political and cultural influence of Stockholm and therefore decided to move the capital to Helsinki. Much of Finnish history is enshrinded in the two main attractions of the city, the Castle and the Cathedral. Seven hundred years old, the Castle overlooks the harbor. Since its restoration between 1946 and 1961 it houses the provincial museum. In the summer it is the scene of Duke John’s banquet, when visitors to the city of Turku can sample the food and music of the Castle’s heyday in the 16th century. In 1984 the handicrafts museum was awarded the accolade of international tourism, the Golden Apple, the first time that any tourist attraction in Scandinavia has been accorded this honour.
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