Kerimäki Wooden Church in Savonlinna, Southern Savonia is the largest timber-built church in the world. It is located in the former municipality centre of Kerimäki, approximately 20 kilometres from the Savonlinna town centre.
The majestical Empire style double-cruciform timber church was initially designed for 1500 people, by architect Ernst Lohrmann. The parish didn’t accept the plans as they thought the church was too small for a parish of 10000 people. Architect Anders Fredrik Grahnstedt later enlarged the plans for 5000 people. Today there are approximately 3000 seats in the church.
The church is built entirely of timber. The interiors are painted white and grey, resembling the interiors of the brick and stone churches, i.e. the timber columns have painted details resembling marble stone. Inside the building, the scale of the timber structure is especially impressive. The façade has a yellow-painted clapboard, with white painted Empire style decorations. The separate bell tower, situated in front of the church, is constructed partially of stones.
The timber constructions were designed and building of them were lead by master builder Axel Magnus Tolpo. His son, Theodor Tolpo continued the work after his father’s death. The Tolpos are one of the most well-known historical master builder families in Finland.
The landmark building was completed in 1847, five years earlier than the Helsinki Cathedral, designed by Carl Ludvig Engel and finalised by Lohrmann after Engel’s death.