Welcome to City of Turku – proud host of 2020 Nordic Fitness Expo!

In 2020, Turku is ready for Nordic Fitness Expo. The City of Turku is now cooperating strongly with NFE organizers and we are expecting the biggest Nordic Fitness Expo ever!

Turku Fitness Sports City
The most famous sportsman from Turku and Finland is Paavo Nurmi (1897–1973). He was a middle- and long-distance runner who was called the “Flying Finn”. Nurmi set 22 official world records at distances between 1,500 m and 20 km and won 9 gold and 3 silver medals in his 12 events at the Olympic Games. At his peak, Nurmi was undefeated for 121 races at distances from 800 m upwards. Throughout his 14-year career, he remained unbeaten in cross country events and the 10,000 m. It has been said that Paavo Nurmi run Finland to a world-known country as Finland was a new country in the world map.

Paavo Nurmi, the Flying Finn on the lead. Photo by Finnish Olympic Museum

The Paavo Nurmi Games is an annual track and field meet that takes place at Paavo Nurmi Stadium in Turku. It was first held in 1957. The competition is now part of the IAAF World Athletics Continental Tour Gold included with 5 Diamond League events!

NHL legend and Team Finland Captain Saku Koivu at the IHHF World Ice-Hokey Championships 2008.

Turku has long roots in team sports like ice hockey and football in Finland’s sports leagues. Saku Koivu, captain for Montreal Canadiens for 10 years, is one good example of a Turku-born ice hockey player and an NHL legend.

Rachel McLish, Kike Elomaa, Carla Dunlap and Lynn Conkwright at 1983 World Pro Championships

Turku also has a great history in Finnish bodybuilding and fitness. The most well-known bodybuilder is Kike Elomaa who won the Ms. Olympia title in 1981. Nowadays she is a member of the Finnish parliament. Since almost 40 years, Kike has motivated Finnish women to train in the gyms. That is probably one of the reasons why the Finnish team is so successful at the international fitness sports events nowadays.

2019 Finnish National Championships bikini fitness overall posedown: Sanna Mattila, Sonja Kallio (number 168), Netta Koskinen, Emmi Nenonen (overall winner), Marjo Voutilainen

Turku area has more than 100 gyms with very active officials in the Finnish Fitness Sports Association (IFBB) and two current Finnish Champions, Antti Ala-Laurinaho (classic bodybuilding) and Sonja Kallio (bikini fitness).

City facts
The population of Turku is about 193, 000 making it the sixth largest city in Finland. There are over 330, 000 inhabitants living in the Turku region ranking it as the third largest urban area in Finland after the Greater Helsinki area and the Tampere region. The city is officially bilingual as 5.4 percent of its population identify Swedish as their mother language.

Autum colors at the Castle of Turku park on October. Photo by Esko Keski-Oja / Studio Vizualis

Due to its location, Turku is a notable commercial and passenger seaport with over 3 million passengers traveling through the Port of Turku each year to Stockholm and Mariehamn.

City view from the air

Historical City
Turku is a city on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River in the region of Finland Proper. The region was originally called Suomi (Finland) which later became the name for the whole country.

River Aura in Autum colors. Photo by Seilo Ristimäki.

Turku, as a town, was never founded. The Pope first mentioned the town Aboa in his Bulla in 1229 and the year is now used as the foundation year of the city. As the oldest town in the country, Turku was the most important city in Finland, a status it retained for hundreds of years throughout the centuries under the rule of the Kingdom of Sweden. After the war, Finland became an autonomous grand duchy of the Russian Empire in 1809 under the direct rule of the Tzar, and the capital of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland was moved to Helsinki in 1812.

Tall Ships Race in Turku

It was only after the last great fire in 1827 that most governmental institutions were moved to Helsinki along with the Academy of Turku founded in 1640, which then became the University of Helsinki.

Turku continued to be the most populous city in Finland until the end of the 1840s, and it remains the regional capital and an important business and cultural centre and port.

Because of its long history, Turku has been the site of many important events, and it has extensively influenced Finnish history. The history of the country is closely linked to Turku, the former capital.

The Castle of Turku. Photo by Matias Tanner