An overhaul of the gym floor at a Swedish high school in central Turku has unearthed an impressive part of the old city, namely two medieval houses and a section of a street, Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.
The find is particularly important as 75 percent of old Turku, at that time the capital of Finland was destroyed by the devastating 1827 fire. The Cathedral School of Åbo (the Swedish name for Turku) was founded in 1276 and is housed in a building dating from the reconstruction period following the great fire.
Local architect Benito Casagrande dubbed the find Turku's "very own Pompei," whereas the leader of the dig team, Kari Uotila noticed that the remnants are "surprisingly well-preserved." According to him, older levels reaching back to the 14th century have been preserved "like in a time capsule."
Despite their significance, the ruins did not come as a complete surprise to archeologists, as the area adjacent to the Cathedral Quarter has been the site of archeological digs for the past three years.
The section of the uncovered street is part of the same thoroughfare called Luostarin jokikatu ("Monastery River Street") which runs through and is displayed at the nearby Aboa Vetus history museum. It happens to be one of the oldest parts of Turku.
"This is a terribly significant find. I think all of these well preserved ruins are unbelievable treasures which should be put on public display for people to experience. Gradually, we are beginning to understand what a large and handsome city Turku was back in the 14th century," Casagrande argued.
Muinaisjäännösten pop up —museo keväällä Turkuun? Ja #katedralskolan 'in naapurikorttelissa on jo museo, jossa esillä 6 keskiaikaisen kivitalon rauniot @AVANmuseo #turku #popupmuseo https://t.co/zDoyisB0hu— Riitta Monto (@RiittaMonto) February 28, 2018
Timo Jalonen and Minna Sartes from the Turku administration put forward an idea of a temporary "pop-up museum" for public display. Another idea is to preserve the ruins as part of a new history museum to be established in Turku for the city's 800-year anniversary in 2029. Turning the school into a museum, however, is not a straightforward process, as it currently houses 300 students, Yle reported.
Turku is Finland's oldest city founded during the Swedish conquest at the banks of the Aura River. Originally, the word "Finland" only referred to the area around Turku (hence "Finland Proper," today's name of the region). After Sweden lost its eastern possessions to Russia in 1809, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland was moved to Helsinki. Turku, however, retained its status as a regional, cultural and industrial center. Today, Turku has close to 200,000 inhabitants and is Finland's third largest urban area.
TURKU CATHEDRAL ⛪ FINLAND— Vesa Loikas (@vloikas) February 25, 2018
The most important historical building in Finland.#turku #cathedral #tuomiokirkko #kissmyturku💋 #finland #wintery #snow #weather #talvi #tower #architecturephotography #architecturalphotography #kirkko #environment pic.twitter.com/Yq6CyWDRwA
Explore Turku’s city scene on a walk 3.5 km long from the Turku Cathedral to Turku Castle: https://t.co/OexnhuUfel learn more about the attractions on this route: https://t.co/sj3GjnuuhC pic.twitter.com/rZWdpPCfN7— Discovering Finland (@DiscoverFinland) January 29, 2018