Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nearly as independent as is Norway of Sweden

The town of Åbo has a population of about twenty-five thousand, who are mostly of Swedish descent. It is thrifty, cleanly, and wears an aspect of quiet prosperity. The place is venerable in years, having a record reaching back for over seven centuries. Here the Russian flag—red, blue, and white—first begins to greet us from all appropriate points. The most prominent building to catch the stranger's eye on entering the harbor is the long barrack-like prison upon a hillside. In front of us looms up the famous old castle of Åbo, awkward and irregular in its shape, and snow-white in texture. Here, in the olden time, Gustavus Vasa, Eric XIV. and John III. held royal court. The streets are few but very broad, causing the town to cover an area quite out of proportion to the number of its inhabitants.

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