language language language language

Devil’s church cave (Pirunkirkko)

Large cave located in Torsansalo, Rautjärvi

Devil’s church is a large cave located in Torsansalo, Rautjärvi. The cave is a part of Linnavuori hilltop Linnavuori stands right next to South Karelia's highest point, Haukkavuori hilltop.

The cave is approximately 9 metres long, 3-12 metres wide and 1-3 metres high. The cave's name “Devil’s church” comes from the cave's arched ceiling that reminds that of a church's vaulted ceiling.

Devil’s church and Rautjärvi's local history are deeply intertwined. The cave was a hideaway for the locals during the Greater Wrath (1713-1721). The locals also trusted the cave with their possessions during the Continuation War (1941-1944). Because of the war, people hid their valuables in the cave as they had to flee their homes.

There is a lot of local traditions, beliefs and folk tales surrounding the ominous looking cave. People believed that the devil himself built the cave as a place for people to worship him. Stories tell that there’s a hidden treasure buried by the Devil's church during the Greater Wrath.

Possibly the best-known stories are the stories told about a healer that lived in Rautjärvi in the 1800s called Pohu-Matti. His real name was Matti Hinkkanen and he was a well-known naturopath. According to folk tales, Pohu-Matti cooked his healing concoctions inside the Devil’s church, as the cave was believed to have magical properties. It is said that Pohu-Matti’s skills were so trusted, that sick people came to see him from as far as St. Petersburg.

Driving instructions

Coming from the south, drive along highway 6 until turning left to Torsansalontie (Torsansalo 13). Drive forward for about 7 km until turning right to road Kangaslammentie. Drive forward about 1 km, Pirunkirkko is on the left side of the road.

Devil's church cave (Pirunkirkko)