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Pori, Finland

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Pori, Finland

For other uses, see Pori (disambiguation).
Porin kaupunki

The old Town Hall of Pori

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 61°29′N 021°48′E / 61.483°N 21.800°E / 61.483; 21.800Coordinates: 61°29′N 021°48′E / 61.483°N 21.800°E / 61.483; 21.800

Country Finland
Region Satakunta
Sub-region Pori sub-region
Charter 1558
 • City manager Aino-Maija Luukkonen
 • Total 1,704.07 km2 (657.95 sq mi)
 • Land 834.06 km2 (322.03 sq mi)
 • Water 870.01 km2 (335.91 sq mi)
Area rank 57th largest in Finland
Population (2013-08-31)[2]
 • Total 83,427
 • Rank 11th largest in Finland
 • Density 100.03/km2 (259.1/sq mi)
Population by native language[3]
 • Finnish 98% (official)
 • Swedish 0.5%
 • Others 1.5%
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Municipal tax rate[4] 18.75%

Pori (Swedish: Björneborg, Latin: Arctopolis) is a city and municipality on the west coast of Finland. The city is located some 10 kilometres (6 mi) from the Gulf of Bothnia, on the estuary of the Kokemäenjoki river, which is the largest in Finland. It was established in 1558 by John III (Finnish: Juhana III or Juhana-herttua). Pori is the most important town in the Satakunta region.

The municipality has a population of 83,427 (31 August 2013)[2] and covers an area of 1,704.07 square kilometres (657.95 sq mi) of which 870.01 km2 (335.91 sq mi) is water.[1] The population density is 100.03 /km2 (259.1 /sq mi). The municipality is unilingually Finnish. Pori is the 11th largest city in Finland, and the 7th largest urban area.


The name Pori comes from the -borg part (meaning city or castle) of the original name in Swedish with a Fennicised pronunciation.[5] The Swedish name Björneborg means Bear City (Bear Castle), and the Latin Arctopolis also means Bear City.


Early years

City of Pori was established in 1558 by Duke John of Finland (Finnish: Juhana III or Juhana-herttua) who was later known as John III of Sweden. It was a successor to the medieval towns of Teljä (Kokemäki) and Ulvila. Sailing the Kokemäki river had become more and more difficult since the 14th century due to the post-glacial rebound. The importance of Kokemäki and Ulvila began to decline as the ships could no longer navigate the river. In the 16th century the situation had become so bad that Duke John decided to establish a new harbour and market town closer to the sea. The Bourgeois of Ulvila were ordered to migrate to the newly founded city and on 8 March 1558 John III gave the charter of Pori, which read: "Because we have seen that it would be best to build a strong market town alongside the sea, and because we cannot find anywhere suitable for fortifying in Ulvila, we have chosen another location at Pori."[6]

At the beginning Pori had around 300 involuntary residents. However, they soon recognized the advantages of their new location, which offered opportunities for profitable trading, among other things. Ship building has been important since the beginning of history of Pori. Shipyard started by the river in 1572 and it worked until the early 20th century. The biggest ship probably ever built in Pori was "Porin Kraveli", completed in 1583.

Greater Wrath and Crimean War

During the Greater Wrath in 1713 Pori was occupied by Russian troops. Eight Russian regiments spent four months in town from September 1713 to January 1714 vandalizing and demolishing the city. Some of the most wealthiest residents vanished, they were probably imprisoned and taken to Russia. Wind mills and storage houses were burnt. Most of the oxen and horses and more than 400 boats were lost. The Russian invasion of Finland continued another seven years. It meant great financial loss for Pori as the foreign trade was completely finished. After the Greater Wrath Pori lost its staple rights and the city went into deep depression. A new "golden age" for Pori started in 1765 as the city got back the staple rights for foreign trade.[7]

As the Crimean War burst out in 1853 Pori was attacked by French and British navy in 1855. The French frigate D'Assos made the first attempt on July and managed to catch one ship outside the Isokari island before they sailed further north. Another attack was made by British fleet on 9 August. Mayor Klaus Wahlberg negotiated a deal with the enemy and the city was saved. Two sailing ships and 17 smaller boats along with some other properties were given to the British.[8]

City fires

As most of the houses were made of wood, Pori has burned down and been rebuilt nine times. The city was first destroyed by fire in 1571 and the last major fire was in 1852. More than 75 per cent of the city was destroyed in 1852 and most of the residents became homeless. Only a few buildings, such as the Town Hall, were saved. The Great Fire of 1852 was one one of the worst disasters in Finland so far. The new city plan and the shape of the present old town was designed by Swedish architect C. T. von Chiewitz. The newly completed buildings, such as the Pori Theatre and Hotel Otava are historically and culturally important. Four esplanades, which are wider than the other streets, divided the new city center in four parts.

Finnish Civil War and World War II

During the 1918 Finnish Civil War Pori was a part of the Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic. The city was not on the direct war zone but some terror was made by both sides. The best known incident was the execution of 11 Whites at the schoolyard of Pori Lyceum.

At the World War II Pori was bombed four times by the Soviet Airforce in 1939–1940. The worst bombing occurred on 2 February 1940 as 21 people were killed. Most of the bombs were aimed to the harbour area instead of the city itself.[9] From 1942 to 1944 Pori Airport served as an air depot for the Jagdgeschwader 5 of German Luftwaffe.[10] Pori air depot was known as "Feldluftpark Pori" and it was one of the major German air depots in Northern Europe. On September 1944 Germans left the airport and destroyed most of their facilities by exploding. One German-built hangar is still used today. Total of 319 Soviet Red Army prisoners of war died in Pori as they were used as a forced labor by the Germans. Soviet soldiers are buried at Vähärauma district in the eastern part of the city.[11]


River and delta

The geological uplift after the last ice age has been relatively high at the mouth of the Kokemäenjoki river. When the city was established in 1558, it was situated on the shore of Pori bay. Because of this uplift the delta of the river now begins in front of the city. The recreation area of Kirjurinluoto is actually on an island connected with bridges to the mainland. Pori National Urban Park preserves the story of the phases of development of the town born at the mouth of the river Kokemäenjoki.


Climate data for }
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −3
Average low °C (°F) −8
Precipitation mm (inches) 26.6
Source: Foreca


Pori gives relatively strong support to the Social Democratic Party. In 2008, the party gained 29.8% of the votes, while the second largest party, National Coalition Party, got 26.1%. The mayor of Pori is Aino-Maija Luukkonen, who was elected to run the city in 2004 after the former mayor, Martti Sinisalmi, retired from the post.

Pori Jazz Festival

The city hosts Pori Jazz, the large international jazz festival held annually in July.[12] The festival has been held in Pori every year since 1966,[13] making it one of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe. Many renowned musicians have played the festival over the years, including: Ray Charles,[14]Miles Davis,[15][16] and Bob Dylan.[17]


The first sportsclub in Finland, Segelföreningen i Björneborg was initiated by Gustaf Sohlström in 1856, who got the inspiration while in England in Brighton sailing competition.

Porin Ässät is an ice hockey team that plays at the highest Finnish level, SM-liiga. They have won the championship three times (1971, 1978 and most recently 2013). FC Jazz won the Finnish championship in football in 1993 and 1996.

Narukerä plays bandy in bandyliiga and they have become Finnish champions once. In 2012 they reached the final.[18]

Two Pori athletes, wrestler Kelpo Gröndahl and weightlifter Kaarlo Kangasniemi, have won the Olympic Gold medal.

The Pori Bears play American football in the SAJL. Mike Leach, coach of the Bears in 1989, is currently head coach of the Washington State Cougars of the NCAA.

In 2009 Mikko Salo won the annual CrossFit Games at Armoas, California declaring him "The fittest man on the planet".


More than 98% of the population has Finnish as their first language, and about 2% has either Polish, Estonian, German, Russian or Swedish as their first language. There is a small minority of about 0.5% of Swedish speakers in the city.[3] There is a Swedish School and a Swedish Culture Club that are aimed at serving the Finland-Swedish minority in the Satakunta region.

Population development

The population peaked in the mid-1970s, when it was over 80 000. After that the population declined, and in recent years has remained steady at just over 76 000. The significant population increase in 1950 was the result of annexing nearby areas. After the annex of the neighbouring municipality Noormarkku in 2010 the population rose to the current 83,000.

  • 1910 – 13,482
  • 1910 – 13,981
  • 1920 – 13,928
  • 1930 – 15,966
  • 1940 – 18,230
  • 1950 – 43,306
  • 1960 – 52,542
  • 1970 – 72,983
  • 1974 – 80,443
  • 1978 – 79,815
  • 1980 – 78,405
  • 1984 – 78,933
  • 1988 – 76,789
  • 1990 – 76,357
  • 1994 – 76,561
  • 1998 – 76,375
  • 2000 – 75,994
  • 2004 – 76,152
  • 2005 – 76,144
  • 2006 – 76,181
  • 2007 – 76,234
  • 2008 – 76,436
  • 2010 – 83,029
  • 2012 – 83,285

Notable people from Pori

Arts, music and society


Music groups

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Pori is twinned with:

Transmitter facility

There is a broadcasting facility near Pori for medium-wave and short-wave broadcasting managed by Digita. The medium-wave transmitter uses a 185 m (607 ft) guyed mast as an aerial.

Panorama of Pori from Kirjurinluoto.


External links

  • City of Pori – Official website
  • Pori Jazz Festival – Official website
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