In terms of architecture the village of Paanajärvi (Panozero) is the best preserved settlement of the White Sea (Viena) Karelia.Besides, it is the last indigenously Karelian village in the region of Kem. The village of Paanajärvi is remarkable not only due to its architecture, but also because of the traditions in spoken and applied arts, since right here throughout many centuries a peculiar bridge was built between the Karelian and Russian cultures. As a result, the Karelian inhabitants of the village were practically bilingual due to close contacts with the coastline of the White Sea.
The village became famous due to the threat of submersion because of a water power plant construction; it was included in the List of World Heritage in Danger by the World Monuments Watch Foundation — at first in time period between 1996 and 2001 and later twice more. Later the renovation was started, but in 2006 the village of Paanajärvi received an award from the organisation Europa Nostra as a form of highest recognition for the work done in preservation of cultural heritage and environment of Europe.
The visitors of Paanajärvi have an opportunity to plunge into the traditional life of locals and experience the whole range of impressions, while seeing a wonderful museum, among others. Several craftsmen are working in the village, and they offer an opportunity to purchase the mats, embroideries, etc, as well as the souvenirs made by the children. At the pottery ceramic vessels are made for the household use and sale. The local craftsmen have set up the manufacture of wooden boats, as well as construction of turnkey black saunas.
Ethnocultural Centre is founded on the basis of museum, pottery and textile workshop. The museum is located in an old renovated house.
The museum includes an exhibition of interior design of the village houses in the end of 19 th century and on the verge of 1940–50 s. The other rooms house the contemporary exhibitions, and provide space for practicing traditional crafts.
A special characteristic of this museum is the audio room, reconstructing the audible scenery of the village in different seasons. These tapes were recorded and edited by French experts. The audio archive is regularly replenished; and the future plans are made to have the sounds of other culturally and globarlly important objects to be available in the audio room. But currently, exept for the village of Paanajärvi, you can hear the breathing of a faraway mountain village in Svaneti (Georgia).
The pottery holds a rather vital significance. The local craftsmen make clay vessels for the household use, but they can also be acquired as souvenirs. The wood furnace for baking of ceramics — the only one in Karelia — has been set up in the workshop. The baking of ceramics is always a long-awaited event in the village, and people from all surrounding area come to see it.
The textile workshop of the EC gathers the village women who weave the traditional rugs. The work of their own hands is sold here, for example, socks, mittens, oven mitts, kerchiefs, etc, as well as the articles made by children.