Porvoo or Borgå, city (1996 pop. 21,313), Southern Finland prov., S central Finland, on the Gulf of Finland at the mouth of the Porvoonjoki River. It is an export center for forest products and has plywood and cellulose mills, breweries, and a publishing industry. A trade center in the early Middle Ages, it was chartered in 1346, which makes it the second-oldest town in Finland. In 1809, Alexander I of Russia granted Finland a constitution at Porvoo, opening the diet there in the cathredral, parts of which date to the 13th cent. Most of the population is Swedish-speaking. The home and grave of the Finnish national poet J. L. Runeberg is in Porvoo.
"Borga" redirects here. For the village in Bangladesh, see Borga, Bangladesh.
Porvoon kaupunki - Borgå stad
Coat of Arms Location
Founded 1346
Province Southern Finland
Region Eastern Uusimaa
Sub-region Porvoo
- Of which land
- Rank
663.71 km²
654.41 km²
ranked 138th
- Density
- Change
- Rank
48,012 (31.05.2008)
73.1 inh./km²
ranked 17th
Urbanisation 84.8%
Unemployment 8.3%
Official languages Finnish, Swedish
City Manager Marcus Henricson
Home page http://www.porvoo.fi

Porvoo (ˈporʋoː) in Finnish or Borgå in Swedish, is a municipality situated on the southern coast of Finland approximately 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Helsinki. The town received its name from a Swedish earth fortress near the river Porvoonjoki which flows through the town (Swedish Borgå, borg meaning castle and å river). Porvoo 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.


Porvoo was founded 1346. 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.

Urban development

The town is famed for its "Old Town" (Gamla Stan in Swedish), a dense mediaeval 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, started deliberately by vandals, on 29 May 2006: the roof was totally destroyed but the interior is largely intact. The red-coloured wooden storage buildings on the riverside are a proposed UNESCO world heritage site. Already by the early 19th century the authorities understood the value of the old town, and so with the need for growth a plan was made for a 'new town' built adjacent to the old town, following a grid plan but with houses also built in wood.

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 architectral 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 store houses 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), which is presently under construction.

Porvoo railway station is now closed to regular train services, but a special excursion train from Helsinki (comprising preserved former VR diesel railcars from the 1950s) operates on summer Saturdays.


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


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

Notable people

Twin towns

External links

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