Petäjävesi Old Church is located in the municipality of Petäjävesi, approximately 30 kilometres from Jyväskylä. The church was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994.
Petäjävesi Old Church is representative of the architectural tradition of wooden churches in northern Europe and a unique example of traditional log construction techniques. The church exemplifies how local master builders skilfully adapted the styles of European ecclesiastical architecture to the vernacular technique of log jointing at the far reaches of the influence of Lutheranism and Western culture. Petäjävesi Old Church as we now know it was built between 1763 and 1765 by Jaakko Klementinpoika Leppänen. The grandson of Klementinpoika, Erik Jaakonpoika Leppänen, was in charge of the construction of the belfry in 1821. In 1879, a new church was built on the other side of a nearby strait and the Old Church went out of use. The Old Church has been preserved as a monument since the 1950s.
The Foundation of Petäjävesi Old Church is responsible for the preservation and restoration of the site and the related tourist and cultural activities. The Management Board of Petäjävesi Old Church is responsible for coordinating the management of the site. The board includes representatives of local organisations and associations, such as the parish, the municipality, the foundation and businesses, and a variety of expert bodies, such as the Finnish Heritage Agency, the Museum of Central Finland and the Central Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. The Petäjävesi Parish is responsible for the restoration and finances of the church, whereas the Municipality of Petäjävesi is in charge of the planning and implementation of the site’s zoning and land use.
Approximately 14,000 tourists visit Petäjävesi Old Church every year, and about 12,000 of them visit the site in the summer. The church hosts religious services and concerts, and it is open to visitors every day in June, July and August. In the winter season, the church is open only by appointment.