Monday, June 29, 2009

Medieval Weekend

I had a very interesting weekend exploring medieval habits here around my home town. First of all at this time of year we have a Medieval Market in Turku and it lasted from Thursday to Sunday. I went there two times, Thursday with my husband and Sunday with my daughter.

Although archaeological findings in the area date back to the Stone Age, the town of Turku was founded in the 13th century. Its name originated from an Old East Slavic word, tǔrgǔ, meaning "market place". The history of Turku is often started from the letter Pope Gregorius IX wrote, dated January the 23rd 1229. The letter granted a permission to transfer the Diocese of Finland to a better place, probably meaning from Nousiainen to Koroinen.

The Cathedral of Turku was consecrated in 1300, and together with Turku Castle and the Dominican monastery (founded in 1249), established the city as the most important location in medieval Finland.

This event takes place on one of the first market places in Turku and along the banks of the Aura river.

The programme consists of various independent performances, here is some announcement to the citizens of Turku:

Here is a man waiting to be convicted for killing someone:

And here is one of the trolls scaring people:

There are lots of booths selling all kinds of things; You can buy an official certificate that you are insane:

You can buy bones and skins of small animals

Swords and knives


Products made from beeswax

Handicraft and wool

There were two small wild boars

A medieval swing for the kids

Here is a blacksmith working

I work in Turku, but live 8 km east in a smaller town named Kaarina. Friday I went with my husband, sister and her husband to see a play by the Summer Theater of Kaarina. Summer theaters are played outside, somewhere the place is covered to protect from rain, but mostly they are not. The plays on summer are usually humorous, light performances but the one we went to see was based on history of the place.

Kuusisto Castle was a medieval castle on an island of Kuusisto in Kaarina. The castle was probably built in the early 14th century, although the site seems to have been bishop's residence already in the 1290s.

The castle was ordered to be demolished during the Protestant Reformation in 1528 by the king Gustav I of Sweden. Excavation and reconstruction work on the remaining ruins began in 1891.

The Castle of Läckö, located on Kållandsö insel in Lake Vänern, Sweden is considered as a model for the Kuusisto castle and this gives the idea how big the building was.

photo credit: Matthias Alder

The play was about the last catholic bishop (1510-1522) Arvid Kurki in Turku and in Finland. His successors started to reformate the church. Kurki was a supporter of Gustav Vasa of Sweden and he had to flee the Danish who attacked the castle in 1522. He sank with his ship to the Gulf of Bothnia.

Also Pietari Särkilahti was included in the story. He was a Finnish student of Martin Luther and one of the early pioneers of teaching science in Finnish language. He spread the idea of the religious reformation eagerly.

It was not allowed to take pictures of the play, but here are some shots of the stage on the interval.

1 comment:

Laurel LaFlamme said...

Simply amazing photographs! Thank you for sharing.