The village of Paanajauml;rvi is one of the oldest in Viena; it was inhabited in prehistoric times in fact. In 1886 J.W. Juvelius brought Stone Age objects found in the village to add to the collections in the Finnish National Museum. In Korvenmaa, near the village proper, he also found Lappish cairns and, under Valkehinen, now also known as Valkeakoski, a sauna stove from an ancient fishing encampment.
There are no certain finds from the Bronze or Copper Ages, but some historical sources claim that the coast of the White sea was occupied by Karelians as early as the ninth century A. D. Before that time the area was inhabited by Sami (Lapps).
According to tradition, Paanajauml;rvi was the oldest village in eastern Karelia and habitation spread from there to Jyskyjauml;rvi and Suopassalmi. Paanajauml;rvi was the site of the first Christian church built in Viena, and the village was the administrative center of East Viena for centuries. Even in the beginning of the 1800s, half of Uhtua belonged to the parish of Paanajauml;rvi.
In 1879, Paanajauml;rvi had 64 houses. In 1905, according to the official census, it had 73 houses and 427 inhabitants. At that time, the Paanajauml;rvi district included eight other villages, yielding a total population of 1,029 people.
When the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic existed, Paanajauml;rvi first (beginning in 1935) belonged to the Kalevala (Uhtua) district and later, when all of the districts of Viena were combined, to the district of Kemi. Several years later the former district administration was restored, with the exception that Louhi became the administrative center of the northernmost district while Paanajauml;rvi, with its substantial forest reserves, remained a part of Kemi.
When Usma Rapids, the largest on the Kemijoki River, were harnessed and the village of Usmana inundated, Paanajauml;rvi became the only remaining Karelian village along the river.
The Kemijoki River in Viena is an age-old shipping route connecting Scandinavia and Byzantium. This trade was at its height in the first millennium A.D.
In the fifteenth century, Russian settlement, supported by the recently founded Solovetsky Monastery, drove the Karelians from the coast, but they retained their villages along the rivers.
The river routes were also used by warring troops. At the end of the 1500s, Paanajauml;rvi and the other settlements along the Kemijoki were razed on several occasions. In 1617, after the Peace of Stolbova, clashes between the Russians and Swedes in Karelia abated, but only to start anew in the early 1700s. During the so-called "Peitto" Wars, Swedish troops advanced as far as Paanajauml;rvi, where, legend has it, they intended to destroy the church but were blinded and had to retreat. The same legend says that the Swedes had visited Paanajauml;rvi on peaceful missions as well - to catch river mussels. The river also served as a route for peddlers. Paanajauml;rvi was the easternmost village along the Kemijoki River from which peddlers travelled to Finland.
By the late 1800s, the river was being used for log floating, which provided the people in Paanajauml;rvi with work for a century. Log floating was discontinued in the beginning of the 1990s.
When the borders were closed in the 1920s, the Kemijoki River became the maintenance route for western Viena, as trade with Finland was no longer possible.
Before the Second World War, Paanajauml;rvi was the only village in the district of Kalevala in which the people spoke Russian fluently. This earned them the name "Middle Russians" among the residents of Uhtua.
When the highway connecting Uhtua and Kemi was completed and the hydroelectric power stations built, the Kemijoki lost its significance as a transportation route. The first rapids to be harnessed were those in Usma, and today there are a total of three power stations below Lake Paanajauml;rvi. Above Lake Jyskyjauml;rvi, in Kintismauml;, there is another power station, for which the lakes Alakuittijauml;rvi and Keskikuittijauml;rvi act as reservoirs. A dam and power station are also being planned at the Valkeakoski rapids, some 10 km downstream from Paanajauml;rvi - a project that would inundate the village.
At present, over one-third of the Kemijoki River is still in its natural state. Eight rapids remained. A power station at Valkeakoski would destroy them all, along with village of Paanajauml;rvi, and the river would be transformed into nothing but a series of reservoirs for power stations. This would be a sad fate indeed for a river whose reputation lay in its rapids.
Finnish researchers and folklorists visited Paanajauml;rvi from early 1800acute;s (A.J. Sjouml;gren, 1825;
Jacob Fellman, 1829; D.E.D. Europaeus, 1846; Aksel Berner and Arvid Genetz, 1872; Heikki Merilauml;inen, 1881 and 1886; K.F. Karjalainen and I.K. Inha, 1894)
The researchers made archeological finds, recorded tradition and tales. I.K.Inha photographed loggers'' camps and crossbow arrows.
Here is an excerpt from a description a trip by A.A. Borenius:
Farther east the people do not visit Finland, and the trading spirit is directed elsewhere...At the same time, ignorance and prejudice come out strongly. This was in fact the cause of a dangerous incident in Paanajauml;rvi for which the photographic equipment was blamed, arousing fears of cholera spreading.
Researchers in the last centuries did not obtain much epic poetry in Paanajauml;rvi, nor did they record much other folklore, for they thought they would be more successful in other villages.
Paanajauml;rvi is nevertheless a promising research site today, for it is the last Karelian village along the Kemijoki River. It is the place where the log-floating tradition of Karelia is best preserved. Another interesting feature of the village is that it has been bilingual for centuries.
It is interesting to compare how the same heritage material differs in different languages. At least cattle spells are still to be found in Paanajauml;rvi in both Russian and Karelian.
Paanajauml;rvi is a particularly valuable site for studying the building tradition. It is an intact village which has remained untouched by war and liquidation efforts. Most of the buildings in the village are built in the traditional Viena style, that is, with dwellings and livestock shelters under the same roof. In addition, many of the traditional details in the buildings have been preserved.
The long-standing ban on construction in the village in anticipation of the hydroelectric project has meant that no structures have been put up which interfere with the traditional village profile.
There are some fifty houses left in Paanajauml;rvi. The population of the village is slightly over one hundred persons, most of whom are pensioners.
About 1.5 km from the village is Uusi Paanajauml;rvi (New Paanajauml;rvi), a relatively recent forest settlement with some 600 persons. This area has a complete school with 11 classes, a shop, a house of culture and a village council, which is also responsible for the old village. Most of the people in the settlement have their roots in the old village.
The proposed hydroelectric plant would not inundate the New Paanajauml;rvi, but the settlement would become an island.
The Kuhmon Kulttuurikornitsa Foundation ( since the1st January,.2000: Juminkeko Foundation) made an application to have the Paanajauml;rvi on the World Monuments Watch List of the 100 most endangered world heritage sites for 1996. It was accepted, joining such sites as the Pompei and Taj Mahal. The Paanajauml;rvi Village was accepted on the list in 1989-99 and 2000-2001 as well.
The Juminkeko Foundation received from the American Samuel H.Kress Foundation - at the recommendation of the WMW - a grant in 1998 and in 1999 to train the villagers for restoration work. Funds were also received for this purpose from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1999-2002) and from The Finnish Culture Foundation.
The first period of the course began in autumn 1998 and continued till autumn 2002, when the traineers received the qualification of an assintant restoration worker. The further training for one and half year, began in 2002 through the EUacute;s TACIS CBC Small Project Facility -Programme after which the traineers will receive a qualification for independent restoration worker. During the courses buildings that are categoriced as cultural historical memorials at the Paanajauml;rvi Village could have been restored in accordance with the permission Karelian cultural authorities. One part of the training has been repairing windows and roofs of the houses where people live all around the year.
Superintended by Academic, Professor of woodden architecture ,Vjatseslav Orfinsky, the Juminkeko Foundation has prepared a restoration plan for the Paanajauml;rvi by the means of the Finnish Culture Foundation. The restoration drawings have been made by the restoration architect Aleksanteri Jauml;auml;skelauml;inen, who has worked as a main instructor in the restoration cources.
By means of the Finnish Environmental Ministery Juminkeko Foundation has built a saw facory at Paanajauml;rvi. The saw was needed for the restoration work and it will later serve as a firm giving work for the villagers. The saw factory is amortized to the village. A forgery is also built in conjuction with the saw.
The Juminkeko Foundation has obtained also a horse to the village to serve the villagers f.ex. during the spring plowing and transporting firewood in winter. For other transporting needs Juminkeko has obtained a tractor and a lorry.
The Arhippa Perttunen Foundation and the Juminkeko Foundation have organized international cultural tourism for small groups to Paanajauml;rvi since 1995.
In 2006 the Paanajauml;rvi Village was awarded by the Europa Nostra Medal for the restoration and revitalizing work that has been carrying out there. This was the first Europa Nostra reward ever admitted to Russia.
Markku Nieminen, 2007
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