Porvoo (IPA: [ˈporʋoː]) in Finnish or Borgå in Swedish, is a municipality situated on the southern coast of Finland approximately 50 kilometres 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.
When Sweden lost the city of Viipuri (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. 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.
Sites of interest
The town is famed for its many wooden buildings, and for the medieval 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, but the interior is largerly intact. The wooden storage buildings on the riverside are a proposed UNESCO world heritage site.