There have been many unforgettable moments at the medieval market during the years. The medieval Turku has been built on and around the Old Great Square with the aid of market vendors, craftsmen, knights, musicians and minstrels since the year 1996. A central part of the market has always been the grand theater play, which brings historical events to the modern day in an impressive, fun and unique way.
Many exciting events, such as the threat of plague, campaigns against Novgorod, prestigious visitors showing up at the market and the quarrels of those in power – not to forget the merry meetings, dance and song of townsfolk – have entertained the market audience every year at the Old Great Square.
Here you can find more information about the themes during the years and events at the Medieval Market.
The Medieval Market traveled back in time to the year 1504—and first time to the 16th Century! The town was full of dignified visitors and political agitation when just elected regent, Svante Sture came to visit Turku to receive the oaths of loyalty.
In the year 1491 Turku was in the middle of reconstruction after the great fire in spring. It’s time to enjoy the summer and market entertainment, to do business, laugh and toast, dance and sing and rejoice the friendship and love!
The Medieval Market travelled in time to 1489, when Missale Aboense, the first book printed for Finns, arrived for the people of Turku to marvel at. The Medieval Market was about guaranteed marketplace atmosphere: hustle and bustle, happy reunions, pompous words about market peace, joy and love, posh ladies and pretty maidens, noble gentlemen and scoundrels, drinks and drama, vendors selling their wares, charming charlatans, tinkers, tailors and the world’s most beautiful unicorn!
It was the year 1418 at the Old Great Square, and the market was one of meetings. The schism in the Catholic Church and the age of three popes had just ended, and the news of this reached even the far-away Turku. Different social classes, languages and cultures collided at the market. The market audience also had the opportunity to see an exciting Mystery Beast, brought from the edge of the world!
The time at the Medieval Market was rewound back to the year 1385, to the age of Bo Jonsson, governor of Turku Castle and the most influential man in the kingdom of Sweden. Bero II Balk was the first Finnish-born nobleman to be elected bishop. Between processions of saints and the hustle and bustle of an international market, small quarrels between townsfolk and fires could not be avoided.
It was the 1350 market of joy and mirth at the Old Great Square. There were, however, rumors going around town of approaching plague and the king’s plans for war. Disease was banished through mutual singing and dancing as the market audience enjoyed their life to the fullest.
The Medieval Market travelled in time to 1439, where the rebellion of David, which ended early that year, was the talk of town. The influential bishop Maunu II Tavast was busy improving the Cathedral of Turku and building new chapels, while the governor of Turku Castle, Hans Gröpel, was busy keeping things in order around Österland.
The visitors of the Medieval Market were taken to the year 1413, and the city was still living under the rule of a single mayor after the terrible events of previous years. This was a problem especially to council member Hans Van Kampen, who wanted to bag the mayor’s seat for himself – or at least for his son.
The medieval Turku of 1412 was brought to life on the cobblestones of the Old Great Square, and the kingdom was in turmoil. Queen Margaret of the union had been laid to rest and the governor of the castle, Klaus Lykedesson Diekn had traveled all the way to Stockholm to receive instructions. The Novgorodians had just been routed at the gates of Vyborg with minimal casualties. Word had it that the order of Teutonic Knights had suffered a major defeat against Polish-Lithuanian troops.
The Medieval Market went back in time to the summer of 1447, when the Cathedral was almost 200 years old, and the 90th anniversary of the birth of the beloved bishop Maunu Tavast was celebrated by the market crowd. The marketplace was full of love, quarrels, acrobatics and of course song and dance. However, sales, courtships and quarrels between families were interrupted by the chaos brought by the threat of Novgorod.
In the year of our Lord 1401, the two most influential noble houses of Turku, van der Berg and Gottschalk, had just signed a major trade union by marrying their offspring. In the middle of the gifting ceremony, the bride was kidnapped by victual brothers who tried ransoming her for the release of their leader, Klaus Störebeck, held captive in Turku Castle. Niklas Kurki, a knight past his prime, was called to aid. With the help of townsfolk he was able to defeat the pirates and restore order to the city.
In the year 1397, Österland and Turku were in a difficult spot. Bishop Bero II Balk was instructing the people to put their faith in the Danish rulers Margareta and Erik av Pommern, but the governor of Turku castle, Knut Bosson Grip supported the old king, Albrekt av Mecklenburg. A grandmaster from the order of Teutonic Knights was sent to inspect the situation and the city, but his interests mostly lay in trading.
The visitors of the Old Great Square were taken to the historical events of the summer of 1365. The winter-long siege of Turku castle is over and the brave governor Narve Ingevaldsson and his troops were forced to yield when the attackers started setting the castle on fire. The amazing ballista, created by a famous German siege engineer, had a key role in the successful siege. The new German king, Albrekt av Mecklenburg came to visit the freshly conquered Österland and greet its people.
In the year 1347 the market audience was a buzz: king Magnus of Sweden himself was coming to Turku for the first time! The ruler had sailed from Stockholm to prepare a crusade to Novgorod, but the crown of the beautiful queen Blanka was missing. The sound of hammers echoed from the nearby Unikankare as the Cathedral was being expanded under protection of bishop Hemming.
In the year of our Lord 1434 the German merchant Herman Grossist arrived to the market in Turku bearing an unparalleled cargo of merchandise and people. The most precious cargo, however, was the letter from the king in Stockholm. The Engelbrekt peasant revolt was wreaking havoc in the realm, and bishop Maunu II Tavast and governor of the castle Klaus Lydekesson Djekn were expected to answer to the calls on behalf of Finland.
It was the year 1403 at the Old Great Square, alive with all kinds of activities as the largest market in Österland attracted people from all around. Even the prestigious guests, king Erik av Pommern and the governor of Turku Castle, Tord Bonde honored the event with their presence.
In the year 1390 the vendors, peasantry and noblemen gathered in the Medieval Market. Hennekinus Luokkinainen was still the mayor of Turku, the second-largest city of Sweden.
The market, set on the day of Olsok, travelled in time to the year 1387. The old great square was visited by the governor of Turku Castle, Jeppe Djekn, as well as the mayor Hennekinus Luokkinainen.
Musicians, minstrels and jesters amused the merry market crowd at the Medieval Market on the Old Great Square of Turku!
The first medieval market was held on the Brinkkala courtyard, where vendors sold their high-quality handicrafts and various performers led the visitors to the exciting world of medieval Turku!