Tuesday, August 25, 2009

day 79, Transfiguration Church on Kizhi Island, Russia

Sita and Nopi love St.Petersburg.....but there are simply too many beautiful monuments to view here .....Valery says that we must board a train for Petrazavodsk now otherwise we will miss the ferry to our next destination.....so lets move it girls.......

Valery has just given all the girls the most beautiful Babushka dolls yippee, Christmas came early for us this year!! Thanks Valery!


En route, on the ferry, Marti is jumping up and down in her seat...she cannot contain her happiness, and is warning everybody that they are not to light a match in the area.....as she doesn't want any fires.........Marti, you are keeping everybody in suspense........why are you suddenly concerned about starting a fire???

All Marti says is ..."You will see"

And there it is .....Kizhi Island, an Open-Air Museum of Russian Wooden Architecture of staggering proportions.

It is surrounded by thousands of small islands that were home to various villages centuries ago, but the island of Kizhi steals the show.

The Kizhi Pogost, as it is known in Russian, is the area inside the perimeter wall or fence and includes 2 large wooden churches and a bell-tower. But the entire island of Kizhi is a museum with many historically significant and beautiful wooden and log structures including windmills, chapels, boat- and fish-houses, saunas, barns and graneries, and homes.

There are two small villages on the island that are home to a few local farmers. Museum staff also live in the old log homes found in these villages.

Over the years, new exhibits have been relocated to the island. We are absolutely fascinated and astounded by this site, and can understand why Marti didn't want us to start a fire!!.

Amit doesn't see what the big deal is .....why is an island with a church drawing so much attention??

Well, it is the fact that all the structures on the island have been carved from wood that makes this site a historical masterpiece and an absolutely breathtaking sight to behold.

The jewel of its architecture is the 22-domed Transfiguration Church (was founded in 1714), with a large iconostasis—a wooden screen covered with religious portraits, featuring much gold leaf.

Sadly this iconostasis is in Petrozavodsk until restoration of the Transfiguration Church is completed (scheduled completion is 2014, the 300th anniversary of this monumental church).

The massive Transfiguration Church (also known as the "summer church") is about 37m tall, making it one of the tallest log structures in the world.


During 1764, a smaller church, the Church of the Intercession, was constructed near the Church of Transfiguration. Even though this structure is not as overwhelming as its neighbor, it still proudly displays ten domes and a rare example of the craftsmanship and talent possessed by the constructors of these masterpieces.

The last piece of this amazing collection of wooden structures was added in 1874, the bell tower, which is also constructed with walls of horizontally-fitted logs, though they are covered by exterior wooden planks and cannot be seen.

All structures were made of scribe-fitted horizontal logs, with interlocking corner joinery—either round notch or dovetail—cut by axes.

The pine trees used for wall construction were brought to Kizhi from the mainland nearby—a notable transport feat for the 18th century.

The decision to protect this rich heritage was made by the Soviet Government in the year 1960 and since then, many other wooden marvels, such as the Muromsky Monastery that was located at the St. Lazarus Church, has been moved here for visitors to view, and for protection.

The most amazing thing for me about these structures is that from the walls, to the roofs, the domes and interiors and even the joints, nails and "metal" ties, all were carved from wood. There is not a trace of metal throughout these buildings!!

Wow Marti! Another amazing UNESCO world heritage site! http://kizhi.karelia.ru/journey/kizhi_panorama/eng

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