Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior -Kizhi Island, Russia
Posted by: NevaP
N 62° 04.050 E 035° 13.393
36V E 616172 N 6883691
Quick Description: This magnificent wooden church is preserved in the Kizhi State Open-Air Museum of History, Architecture and Ethnography.
Date Posted: 3/3/2008 1:23:38 PM
Waymark Code: WM3A3V
The spectacular church of the Transfiguration on Kizhi Island in Lake Onega is a splendid example of wooden architecture. The church was built in 1714 to celebrate Peter the Great's victories over Sweden.
Its construction followed the basic plan of log buildings: matured pine logs laid horizontally, interlocking at corners. No nails were used in the construction.
The octagonal base of the church allows a larger interior space. The walls extend upward in diminishing width to produce a pyramid shape ornamented by 22 onion shaped domes arranged in symmetrically placed tiers. The church is about 30 meters high, almost a hundred feet, and it's one of the tallest log structures in the world.
The domes are raised on cylindrical necks and mounted on curved roofs. They are covered with thousands of hand cut aspen shingles, each of which was individually shaped for its location. Aspen was used because it was easily worked with a hand axe and it did not warp. Also the silvery grey surface reflects light in beautiful ways.
The church was not designed to be heated and was used for services only during the brief northern summer. As in all Russian churches the interior had a colorful Iconostasis.
In the mid 19th century the old wooden architecture was not in favor. The domes were covered with roofing iron. The walls were planked over and painted white, possibly to make them look like stone walls. The church was used for services until 1937.
The Kizhi open-air Museum was established in 1933 to preserve the wooden structures of the Island. In 1966 this became the Kizhi State Open-Air Museum of History, Architecture and Ethnography. Restoration work on the church began in the 1940s. The original exterior appearance has been restored and work continues to replace damaged logs and maintain the structure. Restoration of the interior is in progress. The main iconostasis has been taken to the city of Petrozavodsk and there are plans to have it restored and back in place by the 300th anniversary of the church in 2014. Details of the restoration work can be found at Link
The church of the Transfiguration, the adjacent Church of the Intercession and the nearby bell tower are collectively known as the Kizhi Pogost. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.