Naantali's medieval stone church is the main Music Festival venue. It has been part of the town's silhouette for centuries now. Its history dates back to August 23, 1443, when King Christopher of Sweden (of which Finland was at that time an eastern province) sanctioned the founding of a Brigittine convent in what was then the parish of Raisio. This date is looked upon as the birthday of Naantali, the "Valley of Grace", since a town was ordered to be founded adjoining the convent to serve the nuns and pilgrims. The convent was officially consecrated in 1462.
The site of the convent at Ailostenniemi was inspired by a vision experienced by St Bridget (also known as Birgitta), according to which a "silent water" was to shine behind the convent church. Naantali Church is thought to have been completed in 1462, the year in which it was consecrated by Bishop Konrad Bitz. Not until 1797 did the church acquire the Baroque tower visible from afar on land and sea. The convent ceased functioning in 1544, when monastic life was prohibited. The church is nowadays the centre of Naantali Parish and numerous concerts are held there every year.
Address: Nunnakatu 2, Naantali
St Jacob's Church at Rymättylä, with its ancient vaulted ceilings and sturdy greystone walls, is acoustically excellent for concerts. The limestone-washed walls of the medieval church are richly and colourfully decorated. The church is dedicated to St Jacob the apostle. Throughout Europe the routes travelled by pilgrims passed through churches dedicated to this saint on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. There are three sculptures on the theme of the Jacobean pilgrimage in Rymättylä Church. The oldest of them, still bearing its original colours, is a wooden statue known as the Rymättylä Smiling Jacob and dates from the 1350s.
The wooden church at Merimasku is on an island, serenely set amid its verdant graveyards. The people of Merimasku got their first church and priest in 1648, but the present church dates from 1726. It is a classic cruciform church, each arm of the cross being almost the same size, and the roof is the same height in all four wings.
St Martin's Church in Raisio is named after the French bishop St Martin who died in 397. Legend has it that this medieval greystone church was built by two giants called Killi and Nalli in 1305, and there are references to this in Finnish literature, but more recent research reckons it is younger. It has a single aisle and a barrel-vaulted ceiling and acquired its present look in 1989-1992.
The idyllic little wooden St Henry?s Church at Velkua was built in the archipelago in 1793. Beside it is a belfry that also acts as the gateway to the graveyard. The oldest and most valuable item in the church is probably the altarpiece donated by Bishop Jakob Gadolin in 1796. Velkua was annexed to Naantali Parish at the beginning of 2005. Services are held there weekly in summer and twice a month from autumn to spring.