Petäjävesi Old Church

The Petäjävesi Old Church is a wooden church located in Petäjävesi, Finland. It was inscribed in 1994 on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It was built between 1763 and 1765. The clock tower that has been built in 1821 is connected to it. UNESCO considered it to be a representative Lutheran church of the Scandinavian tradition, mixing Renaissance with older Gothic architectural elements.

The church is about 1 km to the west of the centre of Petäjävesi. The church stayed from the use during the year 1879 when in 1867 the new church of the congregation which has become independent was completed to the present centre densely populated area of Petäjävesi. The old church has retained its original appearance and its interior decoration exceptionally well. It is a popular church for weddings in the summer, and there is a church service on most Sundays.

The church was built as the chapel of the chapel area of Petäjävesi which has belonged to the congregation of Jämsä. The Petäjäveteläinen had been given the permission to build a graveyard and a small village church at their own expense by the crown as early as in 1728 because the trip to Jämsä was long. However, the building was delayed dozens of years. The church was placed on a small cape on the west bank of the sound between Petäjävesi, Jämsänveden and. The place is typical of the old countryside church. It was chosen so that the parishioners got easily there by boat or in the winter stay over. The church was designed by a sprout fishy peasant church construction worker and Jaakko Klemetinpoika Leppänen built. From the church a symmetrical cross church from its form was made. I cross about 17 m, there was the length of both stems and the width about 7 m. Construction technology was usual. The walls were built as a timber notch, the ceiling as a arch-like board structure and the roof was covered with shingles. In 1821 the 2 windows of the church were enlarged and the vestry was moved from a northern cross point as the extension of the eastern point. Clocktower was built by Jaakko Klemetinpojan the same year, a grandson, Erkki Leppänen. The clock tower was connected to the west end of the church with the one to be gone to a short one.

The cross-type floor plan of the church came into use in the Nordic countries at the end of the 17th century and the source became common in the 18th century in the countryside churches. The central church of the renaissance is church's high as a starting point for it. And steep scoop the hipped roof is connected to the older gothic church architecture. There is room for the board structured vaults of the ceiling and for the octagonal dome in the middle of them under a high roof. On the surfaces of the ceiling the ends of boards are covered on the battens which resemble the rib of masoned rib arch. In the battens and in these other roof structures the 2 decorative paintings that have been made with the ruddle are. Otherwise the church is unpainted from its interior. In the old Church of Petäjävesi the thought of the renaissance of the central church combines carried out to older gothic forms with the methods of the popular wood construction. The atmosphere of the interior of the church which carved timber walls form manually and the a little irregular arrangement of the floor planks and benches are unique.

From forgotten to world heritage

It was the stayed conduct of the church to unkempt several dozens of years. The graveyard and clock tower only around the church were in their original use. The Austrian art historian paid attention to the architectonic and historical value of the church in the 1920s as the first one, Josef Strzygowski. Since the year 1929 the church has been repaired several times. The old Church of Petäjävesi was accepted in 1994 as the world heritage of Unesco as a typical representative of the wooden architecture tradition of eastern Scandinavia. It differs from the oldest tree Churchs of Western-Skandinavia (in the world heritage list Norway's Urnesin a staff church) because of a timber notch technology that has been used in the building. On the other hand, it also differs from the timber structured tree Churchs of Northern Russia which represent the Russian and a tradition (in the world heritage list in the churches) from Orthodox ones.

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