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Porvoon kaupunki
Borgå stad
City of Porvoo
Riverside storage buildings in Old Porvoo in July 2004
Riverside storage buildings in Old Porvoo in July 2004
Coat of arms of Porvoo
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 60°23′40″N 25°39′50″E / 60.39444°N 25.66389°E / 60.39444; 25.66389Coordinates: 60°23′40″N 25°39′50″E / 60.39444°N 25.66389°E / 60.39444; 25.66389
Country  Finland
Region Uusimaa
Sub-region Porvoo sub-region
City rights ca. 1380
 • City manager Jukka-Pekka Ujula
Area (2016-01-01)[1]
 • Total 654.42 km2 (252.67 sq mi)
 • Land 654.70 km2 (252.78 sq mi)
 • Water 1,484.49 km2 (573.16 sq mi)
Area rank 131st largest in Finland
Population (2017-08-31)[2]
 • Total 50,203
 • Rank 21st largest in Finland
 • Density 76.68/km2 (198.6/sq mi)
Population by native language[3]
 • Finnish 64.9% (official)
 • Swedish 31.6% (official)
 • Others 3.5%
Population by age[4]
 • 0 to 14 18.5%
 • 15 to 64 67%
 • 65 or older 14.5%
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Municipal tax rate[5] 19.25%
Climate Dfb
Website Porvoo.fi

Porvoo (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈporʋoː]; Swedish: Borgå [ˈbɔrɡo]) is a city and a municipality situated on the southern coast of Finland approximately 50 kilometres (30 mi) east of Helsinki. It is one of the six medieval towns in Finland, first mentioned as a city in texts from 14th century. Porvoo is the seat of the Swedish-speaking Diocese of Borgå of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

The municipality's official languages are Finnish and Swedish. In 2014, 64.6% of the population spoke Finnish as their mother tongue, while 30.1% were Swedish speakers. 5.4% had a different mother tongue.

Neighbouring municipalities are Askola, Loviisa, Myrskylä, Pornainen and Sipoo.


The area of Porvoo has been inhabited since the Stone Age.[6] In pre-historic times the river Porvoonjoki was a route of commerce for Finnish tribe Tavastians who inhabited mostly inland regions, though they had also permanent settlements in the area, such as the village of Hattula (later Strömsberg), which was named after an inland Tavastian village. The original name of the river Porvoonjoki was possibly Kukinjoki. The name derives from the name of the trade vessel cog which was a common merchant ship in the Baltic Sea in medieval times. The early center of the area was Saksala, which means "the place of the Germans". The name derives from the merchants who were trading in Saksala.[7][8]

Porvoo was colonised by Swedes in the 13th and 14th centuries after the so-called Second Crusade against Tavastians in 1249-1250. The colonisation was led by the Catholic Church and the kingdom of Sweden. The colonists were provided with seeds, cattle and tax exemption for four years.[8]

Porvoo was first mentioned in documents in the early 14th century, and it was given city rights around 1380, although according to some sources the city was founded in 1346. The old city of Porvoo was formally disestablished and the new city of Porvoo founded in 1997 when the city of Porvoo and the rural municipality of Porvoo were consolidated.[9] When Sweden lost the city of Viborg to Russia in 1721, the episcopal seat was moved to Porvoo. At this time, Porvoo was the second largest city in Finland.

After the conquest of Finland by Russian armies in 1808, Sweden had to cede Finland to Russia in 1809 (the Treaty of Fredrikshamn). The Diet of Porvoo in 1809 was a landmark in the History of Finland. The Tsar Alexander I confirmed the new Finnish constitution (which was essentially the Swedish constitution from 1772), and made Finland an autonomous Grand Duchy.

The Porvoo Common Statement is a report issued at the conclusion of theological conversations by official representatives of four Anglican churches and eight Nordic and Baltic Lutheran churches in 1989–1992. It established the Porvoo Communion, so named after the Porvoo Cathedral where the Eucharist was celebrated on the final Sunday of the conversations leading to the Statement.


The town received its name from a Swedish earth fortress near the river Porvoonjoki which flows through the town. The name Porvoo is the Fennicised version of the Swedish name (Borgå) and its parts of borg, meaning "castle", and å, "river".[10]


Results of the Finnish parliamentary election, 2015 in Porvoo:

Distribution of the city council seats following the Finnish municipal elections, 2012:

Urban development

The town is famed for its "Old Town" (Gamla Stan in Swedish), a dense medieval street pattern with predominantly wooden houses. The Old Town came close to being demolished in the 19th century by a new urban plan for the city. The plan was cancelled due to a popular resistance headed by Count Louis Sparre.

The central point of the old town is the medieval, stone and brick Porvoo Cathedral which gave its name to the Porvoo Communion, an inter-church agreement between a number of Anglican and Lutheran denominations. The cathedral was damaged by fire on 29 May 2006: the roof was totally destroyed but the interior is largely intact. A drunken youth had played with fire at the church, unaware of recent tarwork and nearby tar containers, accidentally causing a large fire. He was later sentenced to a short prison term and restitutions of 4.3 million Euro.[11]

Porvoo town hall

The red-coloured wooden storage buildings on the riverside are a proposed UNESCO world heritage site. By the early 19th century authorities already understood the value of the old town. With the need for growth, a plan was envisioned for a 'new town' built adjacent to the old town, following a grid plan but with houses also built of wood.

New housing, Porvoo, by architect Tuomas Siitonen

By the end of the 20th century there was pressure to develop the essentially untouched western side of the river. There was concern that growth would necessitate the construction of a second bridge across the river into the town, thus putting further strain on the wooden town. An architectural competition was held in 1990, the winning entry of which proposed building the second bridge. Plans for the western side of the river have progressed under the direction of architect Tuomas Siitonen, and both a vehicle bridge and a pedestrian bridge have been built. The design for new housing is based on a typology derived from the old storehouses on the opposite side of the river. Yet another new development entails the construction of a large business park called King's Gate (Kuninkaanportti in Finnish, Kungsporten in Swedish), which is under construction.

Porvoo railway station does not have regular train service, but special excursion trains from Kerava (either with steam locomotives or former VR diesel railcars from the 1950s) operate on summer weekends.[12]


Suomenkylä, or Finnby in Swedish, is a village north of the centre of Porvoo and beside the Porvoo river. Suomenkylä has an old school founded by Johannes Linnankoski in 1898. The village of Suomenkylä also has two burial places from the Bronze Age.


Kerkkoo, or Kerko in Swedish, is a village north of the centre of Porvoo and beside the Porvoo river. It has an old school which is over 100 years old and still active. In the village of Kerkkoo archeologists and townspeople found a stone axe from the Bronze Age.


Bandy legend Sami Laakkonen, here in the dress of Dynamo Kazan, now plays for Akilles.

The local team Akilles Bandy plays the sport of bandy, which is similar to ice hockey, in the highest division, Bandyliiga, and has become Finnish champions twice.

Sami Hyypiä, a former football player for Liverpool FC and the Finnish national team, is the main sports pride of Porvoo.

Porvoo Cathedral prior to the fire in May 2006

Notable people

International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Porvoo is twinned with the following cities:[13]

See also


  1. ^ "Population density by area 1.1.2016". Statistics Finland. Retrieved 12 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "Ennakkoväkiluku sukupuolen mukaan alueittain, elokuu 2017" (in Finnish). Statistics Finland. Retrieved 18 October 2017. 
  3. ^ "Population according to language and the number of foreigners and land area km2 by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  4. ^ "Population according to age and gender by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 28 April 2009. 
  5. ^ "List of municipal and parish tax rates in 2011". Tax Administration of Finland. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Pertti Vihtaranta; et al. (1992). Suomalainen tietosanakirja, osa 6. Weilin+Göös ja Almagest Oy. ISBN 951-35-4644-6. 
  7. ^ Masonen, Jaakko (1989). Hämeen Härkätie. Tiemuseon julkaisuja 4. Valtion painatuskeskus. Helsinki. 
  8. ^ a b Tarkiainen, Kari (2010). Ruotsin itämaa. Helsinki: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland. pp. 132–134. 
  9. ^ Jaakkola, Marianne (2007-11-19). "Yleistä Porvoosta" (in Finnish). Porvoo: City of Porvoo. Retrieved 7 January 2009. 
  10. ^ "Keskiaika - Suomen kaupungit keskiajalla". Katajala.net. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ "Kerava-Porvoo Museum Train Timetable Summer 2009". Porvoo Museum Railway Society. Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
  13. ^ "The sister cities of Porvoo" (in Finnish). Porvoo City. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 

External links

  • City Porvoo – official website
  • Porvoo travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • King's Gate Business Park
  • Porvoo Museum Railway – train service to/from Helsinki on summer Saturdays
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