The village of Lumivaara is in South Karelia, which is now classed as being located in Russia (this territory belonged to Finland until 1940).
The unusual sight of the abandoned church named the Karelia Kirche Lumivaara is a draw to many urban explorers, and the building dates to five years before this little village changed its nationality.
“Kirche” in German is a word that is similar to the English word “church” and was often applied to Lutheran structures.
The word “Lumivaara” comes from the Finnish language and translated means a snow-capped mountain; it is essentially made up of the two words for “snow” and “hill.”
The abandoned Finnish church is located on the hill of Rokkapat at a distance of 500 meters (547 yards) from the village. Its construction was completed in 1935, and it was designed and built by an architect named Ilmari Launis.
The Finns occupied this village for a long time, but they began to leave this place in 1940, as soon as the war began.
In 1939, there were 4,933 residents in the village of Lumivaara, and ten villages were also part of the surrounding community. The main activities were agriculture and forestry.
In 1944, any remaining Finnish residents were evacuated from this village after it ceased to belong to Finland. Since the inhabitants were forced to leave, the beautiful church became abandoned.
In the 1990s, the Lumivaara Society, made up of former local residents, worked to partially restore the church. Despite their efforts, the church is currently in poor condition and needs major repairs.
However, buses do not go as far as Lumivaara and because the location is particularly inaccessible, this has been to the church’s advantage, keeping its contents safe from thieves and vandals.
The interior is amazingly well-preserved. On the walls are various murals, some of which still have inscriptions showing the date and name of the person who created it. Also, many frescoes have survived in remarkably good condition.
However, the church has not been immune from deterioration, and in some places crumbling plaster is visible, the floors have been partly removed, or there is construction waste littering the site.
The church used to have two bells, but now only one remains at the very top of the tower.
The pair were cast in 1934, and it is believed that the missing bell was stolen. The bell tower is fitted with blinds that protect the bell from bad weather.
A small cemetery is located next to the church, marking the burial place of Finnish fighters who fell in the battles of 1939-1944. Inside the church there is a memorial plate with the names of those Finns who perished.
To find this abandoned church, you must first find the village of Lumivaara itself, although it does seem to be a named place on several sat navs.
Once in the village, locate the hill and then you can find the abandoned church, although in summer it can be concealed by the green trees surrounding it.
However, visitors should be aware that the floors and stairs are rotting and some structures have collapsed, so it is not as sturdy and safe as it looks.
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