Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Petajavesi Old Church in Central Finland was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994.
The church was built between 1763 and 1765 by a local peasant master builder. What makes it unique, is it it's log construction and the skills of the peasant population. Stylistically it mixed Renaissance with older Gothic elements. I had the opportunity to visit the church this summer. The church is located on a picturesque peninsula, facilitating the access by boat in the summer and by ice in the winter. The grandson of the builder added the bell tower in 1821. In 1879 a new church was built in the center of Petajavesi and the old church was abandoned. In the 1920s an Austrian art historian Josef Strzygowski brought attention to it's historical and architectural value and since then the church has been repaired several times. Today it is used for weddings and services during the summer months and especially since becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has been visited by tourists from around the world.

The above floor plan shows the cruciform shape of the church.

The initials of the builders can be seen on the unpainted surface of the beams. The decoration is red ochre.

The pulpit has charming depictions of angels and other religious figures.

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