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Elimäki Village in Kouvola

Markets and rural buildings

For a while now people have been wondering about the meaning and purpose of Elimäki.

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What should I do with my Elimäki? – a question that man has been pondering since the dawn of his existence. The most important book published on this topic in Finland is Elimäen tarkoitus (the meaning of Elimäki) from 1996.

This meaning may be sought at Pestoomarkkinat (hiring market), which this year was held for the 45th time. The history of the market stems from the fact that in Elimäki it was once traditional to hire maids and farmhands on the first Sunday of August. This sinful event attracted to the church village not only employers and potential employees, but also thousands of onlookers and vendors.

Next Pestoomarkkinat will be held on 5th September 2020. In accordance with traditions, Elimäki will select the new Piika (maid) and Renki (farmhand) for the following year.

A miniature Seurasaari

What else, other than the hustle and bustle of the market, is worth stopping for at Elimäki Church Village?

You can also make a trip to the Museum of Local History and Culture, which is like Seurasaari open-air museum of Helsinki in miniature. Seven buildings from different parts of Elimäki have been moved to the grounds of the museum, telling the history of the parish in the 19th century.

A speciality of the open-air museum is the windmill looking towards Route 6, which originally belonged to Mustila Manor. The museum also has a farmhouse, two granaries, a smoke sauna, a smithy with its original tools, a commercial storehouse and a drying barn with horse-driven wheels.

The church that changed its shape

Elimäki Church is one of Finland’s oldest wooden churches. It was built in 1638 in a rectangular shape, but was expanded into cruciform shape four decades later.

The most striking parts of the interior are the altar and the altar board from 1632, the baroque screen from 1666 and the pulpit made by carpenter Lorentz Haberman probably in the mid-17th century. They were donated by Casper Wrede and his wife Sophia Taube.

The soldiers’ graveyard and monument in the church grounds were designed by sculptor Aimo Tukiainen. The bell tower is on the other side of the road intersecting the church village.

The above-mentioned ’Elimäen tarkoitus’ book otherwise describes Elimäki as follows: ”An object, thing, experience or emotion that everybody feels but that has no name”.