Åbo domkyrka – ett fält för fortsatt forskning


  • Knut Drake


Turku Cathedral – A Subject of Continued Research
By Knut Drake

Finland consisted of a single diocese in the Middle Ages, with the bishop’s see located in Turku (Sw. Åbo). In connection with Turku Cathedral’s restoration in 1923-1928, a thorough investigation of its structures was conducted. This was the first study of its kind in Finland, and the results have affected the general understanding of the Cathedral’s building history to this day. According to a jubilee book published in 2000, a wooden parish church was constructed on the site of the present-day Cathedral in ca 1250, and a stone sacristy was added soon after. The timber church was replaced in the 1290s by a brick-built hall church that was taken into use as a cathedral in 1300. During the 14th century, a narrower polygonal chancel was added to the hall church, as well as two porches of greystone to the south and a tower to the west side. At the beginning of the 15th century, the chancel was replaced by the present-day three-aisled nave, the sacristy was enlarged, the east porch was demolished and a high brick-built vestibule built in its place, and side chapels were added both to the north and to the south of the nave. After 1460, the Cathedral was turned into a basilica, the large Chapel of All Souls was added to the east, and a new side chapel constructed on the south side. I have studied the Cathedral’s walls with building archaeological methods, and have con-cluded that some of the interpretations from the 1920s must be revised. Nothing remains of the wooden church today, but such a building was probably constructed in the 1290s and consecrated as a cathedral in 1300. Afterwards, it was extended with a stone sacristy. The first attempt to build a brick church in the 1370s-1380s failed, but the construction work was resumed after some time, and the brick-built cathedral was completed at the beginning of the 15th century. At that time, it consisted of a three-aisled vaulted nave with a narrower chancel and a two-storey sacristy. The building work continued in the 1420s. A row of chapels to the north of the nave was constructed at that point, as well as two porches of two storeys to the south and a masonry tower to the west side. In the 1440s, the old chancel was demolished and replaced by a three-isled nave. At the same time, the nave was raised by three metres and the masonry tower was extended in brick. This work was completed with the Cathedral’s conversion into a basilica in the 1460s.


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Drake, K. (2003). Åbo domkyrka – ett fält för fortsatt forskning. Hikuin, 30(30), 123. Hentet fra https://tidsskrift.dk/Hikuin/article/view/111261