In the golden era of folklore expeditions in the 19 th century, the whole region of Voknavolok was a centre of old songs.It included all the villages known for rune singing where the material for the Karelian-Finnish epos Kalevala was recorded.It was in Voknavolok where Elias Lönnrot recorded the wedding songs of White (Viena) Karelia later used by him in the epic runes about the wedding in Pohyola. Among the gems of national poetry recorded in Voknavolok, there is a lyric song which mentions a place by the name of Kalevala. This sample was included in the collection of songs Kanteletar under the name Maiden from Kalevala. This song has countless variations, but only the version recorded by Lönnrot in Voknavolok contains the name Kalevala. Of course, it must be counted among the greatest of Lönnrot’s insights that he used exactly this word both to name his epos and the land he placed his characters in. The word is freely pronounceable in many languages and connects the characters of the epos to their mythological ancient ancestor, Kaleva, who was mentioned in national poetry.
Later Voknavolok was a place of interest to many inspired collectors of national poetry and Finnish Karelianists charmed by national romanticism.Photographer I. K. Inha and linguist K. F. Karjalainen made a trip to Viena in 1894, and it turned out to be very significant in terms of the popularisation of the rune singing region. The fascinating photos taken by Inha were forever imprinted on the awareness of both the Finns and the international community, everyone who was captivated by Kalevala. To everyone interested in the cultural and historical heritage of the epos, they offer evident information of the world where rune songs were sung and of the lifestyle of days gone by.
The EC of Voknavolok is situated in the House of Voknavolok Village. A permanent museum exposition is displayed there, explaining the history and culture of the village and the whole region. A studio of arts and crafts operates in the same building.It contains several looms as well as a carpenter’s workshop in which the finishing look and sound is given to the five-stringed kantele. These are made in the Voknavolok workshop according to kantele manufacturing traditions. In the cinema hall, you can view documentaries about the life of the most known narratress of the second half of the 20 th century, Santra Remshueva, as well as see other materials regarding local culture and history.
In the EC there are actively performing folklore ensembles: Kataya, Martat, and the children’s group of kantelists Vuokkiniemen pojat.
The House of Voknavolok Village offers an opportunity for introductory excursions in Voknavolok and other rune singing villages of the region.
The Ethnographic Museum of EC Voknavolok is located in the house of Onchi, Onchintalo, which served as an inn at the end of the 19 th century. The museum tells a story about village life in past times.