most of the poetry collectors from Sjögren and Lönnrot on
visited Jyvöälahti, the village's place in the cultural
history of the region was perhaps best ensured by the photographer
I.K. Inha. Inha and his companion, the linguist Kusti Karjalainen,
used the village as their base during the several months they spent
in Viena in 1894. It was from here that they set out to explore other
villages. Inha took more photographs in Jyvöälahti than
in any other village. For example, he staged a wedding there, and
the series of photographs he took and the account written by K.F.
Karjalainen are irreplaceable sources of information for researchers
interested in wedding traditions in Viena.
the earliest poetry collectors, Jyvöälahti was generally
only a place to stop briefly or to spend the night, since it had
no well-known shamans or bards. Sjögren visited the village
in 1825; Fellman came in 1829. Lönnrot passed through on his
fifth (1834), sixth (1835) and seventh (1836) field trips.
Lönnrot's descriptions of Jyvöälahti are rather
scanty. On the last two of his field trips he mentions it only as
a stop on the way, and his first visit certainly failed to impress
We arrived in Jyvöälahti at midnight or shortly
thereafter, knocked on the door of one house and were taken in.
They hurried to make us beds on the floor. Unlike us, the people
in this area do not make their beds out of straw that is brought
in every evening but use reindeer skins and cloth, which they
don't put any cover over....
I left Jyvöälahti the next morning for Uhtua.
account on the return journey is even more terse:
I came from Uhtua to Jyvöälahti again, where I
only spent a very short while, since I was only able to find one
bard and not even a very good one at that.
Castrén also visited Jyvöälahti, in 1839, but
collected just as little material as the others.
next generation of poetry collectors fared no better in their efforts
in the village - not even Borenius, Berner and Genetz were successful,
who sought out previously unrecorded poems, however fragmentary.
In fact, Borenius mentions Jyvöälahti as a poor place
to collect poetry.
Juvelius (1886) and Sparre and Wikström (1892) visited Jyvöälahti
before Inha and Karjalainen did but were unimpressed, although they
did comment on how friendly and tidy the people were:
I have to make some sketches before we can go on. We walked
through the entire village but saw nothing worth recording in
our notes... The original, beautiful carvings in wood which one
sees to the south are nowhere to be seen here - not in the logs
in the walls or the clothes beaters - nowhere. There was nothing
interesting in the church or the graveyard either. (Sparre)
The church is gone but the tasouna (Orthodox chapel)
in present-day Jyvöälahti is extremely interesting, for
it is the only one in Viena that has been preserved at least in
some measure. Unfortunately, decades of use as a residence have
left its mark. Restoration work is scheduled for the turn of the
millennium if funding can be secured.
Another very interesting building in Jyvöälahti is a
well-reserved granary which differs in shape and height from other
granaries in Viena.
Today Jyvöälahti is significant among the larger villages
in Viena for having best preserved its houses and village profile.
The village was at its largest in the late 1930, when it had over
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