It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Arts and Archives 2013: Through the largest archipelago to the oldest city in Finland




Crossing the sea of Åland between Sweden and Finland is always a joy and a maximal experience of Nature’s beauty. Our day on the sea was filled with sunshine and rest. Watching the 12-deck, 2800 passenger cruise ferry (212 meters long) navigate the 350 km route through tens of thousands of islands in twelve hours provides its own entertainment.
Finland’s oldest city Turku welcomed us with blue skies and sunshine. We visited Åbo Akademi University (Åbo is the Swedish name for Turku) library collections. This is the former Royal Academy of Abo, established in 1640. The library had prepared three different exhibitions for us: 1. Historical documents (including Peter Kalm’s dissertation, various Linnaeus’ material, Magnus von Wright’s bird illustrations etc.) 


(Herbarium Blackwellianum, Nurnberg 1757)

2. A collection of Tove Jansson’s early material and correspondance (Jansson was the creator of the famous Muumin characters); 
(Tove Janssons' color swatches for one of her early books)
3. Children’s books (Abo Akademi has the most complete collection of Finnish and Finnish-Swedish children’s books in the country).
The university is next to Turku Cathedral established in the 13th century. The cathedral is the mother church of the Lutheran Church of Finland. The Cathedral museum has a valuable collection even though the once rich collections have been plundered during various wars and damaged by fire.
In Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova (Museum of History and Contemporary Art) we could on one hand see an interesting underground area of ruins from earliest times in Turku, and on the other hand we could see the most contemporary art imaginable in galleries.
(Part of the huge Turku castle)
Finally we visited the Turku Castle dating back to 1280.  Constructed over centuries, it reached its current size in the 1500s and became a museum in 1881. It is today an important piece of architectural and cultural history and one of the oldest buildings still in use in Finland.  
(The wall of the scribe's room in Turku Castle)
See more pictures by clicking here.

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