Petäjävesi Old Church

Petäjävesi, Finland

Petäjävesi old church was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994. It was designed and built in 1763-64 by a local peasant master-builder, and in 1821 his grandson added the bell tower at the west end. Petäjävesi was then part of the Jämsä congregation, but the trip to Jämsä church was too long for local people. The Crown of Sweden had accepted the request to build a graveyard and a small village church at their own expense as early as in 1728, but building was delayed nearly forty years. The church was located to a typical old countryside site. It was chosen so that the parishioners got easily there by boat or in the winter stay over.

When the newer church was completed in 1879, old church was abandoded for nearly for decades. The period of neglect between 1879 and the 1920s was a blessing in disguise. The historical importance of the church was noticed first by the Austrian art historian Josef Strzygowski in the 1920s. After 1929 church is renovated several times.

Petäjävesi olf church is a very unique and well-preserved wooden church representing the wooden architecture tradition of eastern Scandinavia. Nowadays it’s a popular tourist attraction and open every day in summer time (in winter season by appointment).

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Details

Founded: 1763-1764
Category: Religious sites in Finland
Historical period: The Age of Enlightenment (Finland)

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