Explore Turku’s outdoor sculptures

Given there are nearly 100 sculptures strewn throughout Turku, it’s likely you’ll accidentally stumble across one or several dozen as you venture around the city. But this self-guided tour will take you past some favourites situated along the tranquil Aura River.

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Edellinen artikkeli
Seuraava artikkeli

Lily of Turku

Start at Runeberginpuisto Park with a visit to Lily of Turku, one of the earliest sculptures acquired by the city. Designed by Wäinö Aaltonen (commit this name to memory: it will crop up over and over again), the artwork is beloved by Turku townsfolk, who place a student cap atop her head every May Day. The university’s dental students then give the sculpture her yearly check-up, cleaning her with a giant toothbrush.

Photo: Pekka Vallila

Paavo Nurmi

Make your way towards the Auransilta Bridge, where you can admire Aaltonen’s most famous sculpture, simply titled Paavo Nurmi. Known as the ‘Flying Finn’, Nurmi was a champion athlete, who shot to stardom at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics with gold-medal winning performances in the 10,000 metres as well as the individual and team cross-country events. Born and raised in Turku, Nurmi broke record after record over his illustrious career, winning nine Olympic gold and three silver medals in total.


As you stroll west towards the Turku City Theatre, keep your eyes open for an enormous spider web stretched across the entrance to a cave. Entitled Network, the sculpture is made from braided polyester rope and serves as a comment upon the modern phenomenon of networking.

Photo: Pekka Vallila

Monument of Aleksis Kivi

Pause in front of the Turku City Theatre to take in another Aaltonen sculpture; this one pays tribute to a renowned Finnish writer. Born in 1834, Aleksis Kivi devoted his 38 short years to writing stories, poems, and plays, which have continued to draw acclaim long after his death. His birthday, 10 October, is celebrated nationally as Finnish Literature Day.  

Intellectual work, settler, and future

No sculpture trail in Turku is complete without stopping by the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum. Named in honour of the artist whose works have had such a profound impact on the city, the museum houses a collection donated by Aaltonen himself as well as more recent acquisitions. As you enter the building, notice the three statues positioned proudly outside, Intellectual work, settler, and future. Part of a celebrated series entitled Work and future, here Aaltonen sought to capture the ideals of a young Finnish nation still finding its feet. 

Photo: Tiina Ranne

Those looking up to the stars

Cross over Itäinen Rantakatu Street and make your way underneath Myllysilta Bridge, where you’ll find a series of bronze human figures. Designed by Kari-Petteri Kakko and entitled Tomorrow, today, a moment ago, and yesterday, the sculptures are a reminder to apply the brakes once in a while and enjoy the simple moments in life.

Kuva: Pekka Vallila


On the other side of the Aura River, close to the Turku Guest Harbour, you’ll see a shimmering whale tail breaching the surface of the water. Created from 280 handmade stainless steel plates, Harmony serves as a fountain in the summer months, while in the winter, when the sun barely appears, the sculpture is lit up like a multi-coloured beacon. 

Hide and seek

As you wander towards Turku Castle, pay close attention to the streetscape. Somewhere hidden around here you’ll find dozens of tiny sculptures, crafted by a group of local children with the help of artist Oona Tikkaoja. The fun is in the finding, so put on your detective cap and search window sills, stair rails, and even under garden seats.

Photo: Heta Kuortti


You don’t need to look too carefully to find the last sculpture. First unveiled in 2011, when Turku was crowned as the annual European Capital of Culture, Daisy is a reminder to appreciate nature’s beauty and protect its diversity. The sculpture is gigantic with the stem alone measuring some 25 metres. It’s the perfect place to enjoy an ice-cream and plan your next trail.  

Text: Kathleen Cusack

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