Kizhi / Kischi / Kishi is an amazing place, an openair-museum of old wooden buildings and churches that were taken from different parts of Russia to this island in Onega Lake , east of Petrozavodks.
Almost all cruiseships taking passengers between St. Petersburg and Moscow will get there at least for a few hours, and that is also the way that I came there in June 2009 on my way from St.Petersburg to Moscow.
Fondest memory: We were lucky with the weather but it is a pity that we had only about 2 hours to explore the island. In my main photo you will see the landing-stage of the ships on the left and the part of the island that were were able to explore. In my 2nd photo you see the part of the island that we missed and that part of the museum had some more churches, windmills and farmhouses that look quite interesting. a total of 2 hours is simply not enough for this amazing museum !
Maybe I will come back some day with a daytrip from Petrozavodsk and will have more time there hopefully.
Kizhi Island is a little island located at the northern end of Onega Lake, Europe's second largest lake. The island, considered the Jewel of the Carelia region, has been turned into a living history museum where
wooden structures of early Russia are being preserved.
Fondest memory: In the 16th century, Kizhi was the administrative centre of the large Zaonezhye area, an area populated by hard-working religious people: peasants, merchants, blacksmiths, carpenters. Their skills can be seen in Kizhi today: all buildings were erected without using a single nail.
I have made a list of recommendations on what to see and do, based on how much time you have available:
- 3 hours: see the main museum and walk to the nearest settlement from the farthest side of it;
- 5 or 6 hours: discover the museum, and the whole side of the island where it is situated;
- 11 hours: all the island (you can rent a bicycle from locals if you bargain), plus hire a boat and take a walk on one of the nearest islands.
Favorite thing: When visiting Kizhi, it is crucial to plan in advance on how much time you need and how much time you can actually get. Time span available is determined by the transportation situation. Usually, tourists stay for about 3 hours on the island of Kizhi. In summertime, the longest possible daytime stay is about eleven hours, which I found to be about enough to discover the whole of the island.
The foundation of the belfry is formed by the quadrangular framework of the anteroom raised almost to the level of the ridge of the refectory roof. Above it an octahedron lies widened a little in its upper part and covered with boards with pointed ends. Above them - the fretwork of carved balusters of the belfry and a tent-like roof of a really perfect silhoutte.
The decoration of the chapel consists of the pointed ends of the roof boards, carved cornices and rather modest carving of the facial boards. The main decoration of the chapel is in its well-balanced structures, the harmony of lines and volumes.
In the 19th century the walls of the building were planked and covered with roofing iron. In 1962, the restoration resulted in reconstruction of the original look of the chapel.
The village of Korba is situated on the shore of a small bay. On the cape the Apparition of the Mother of God Chapel is standing protected by giant fir trees against cold north-eastern winds.
Fondest memory: The Apparition of the Mother of God Chapel in the village of Korba. The 18th century.
It is built according to canons. It consists of the chapel proper at the east, the adjoining refectory and the anteroom at the west. However, the structure is unique due to the contrasting volumes of its parts. The horizontal area of the chapel proper and the refectory is counterbalanced with the vertical line of the tent-like belfry.
The Sts. Peter and Paul Chapel stands in the open. On the summer day devoted to Sts.Peter and Paul people from many villages of the Kizhi pogost used to come to the chapel. The inhabitants of the village of Volkostrov, to be exact, of the group of villages including Nasonovschina, Posad, Shlyamino received the guests... The chapel was the focal point, the centre of Volkostrov.
The present the chapel was formed gradually. In the 17th century the eastern framework was built and in the next century the anteroom with a belfry and the porch were added. But notwithstanding the fact that the chapel was built by carpenters of different generations, the distinctive feature of the structure is its remarkable integrity.
In the 19th century the framework was planked and the domes were covered with roofing iron. The restoration carried out in 1953 resulted in the reconstruction of the chapel as it looked in the 18th century.
Fondest memory: Owing to the activities of the museum, the chapel festivals in the villages were revived. As in old days, on the 12th of July a lot of people come to the chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul in the village of Volkostrov to listen to the service and then to sing old Zaonezhye songs, to drink tea from samovars at the tables arranged outside the chapel.
The present architectural and constructional solution of the winter Church of the Intercession comes from 1764.
It is one of the most traditional types of Russian wooden churches of the 18th century, so called "octahedron on a quadrangle". However, against the tradition, the church has no tent-like roof but crowned with ten domes.
The church rests on a stone foundation.
In 1959 the restoration of the Church of the Intercession was completed. A.V. Opolovnikov was the author of the design and headed the work. The restoration resulted in removal of the details added during the repair in the 18th-19th centuries to return the original look of the church.
Fondest memory: In 1995 the church was reconsecrated. Orthodox services were resumed. Since 1996 the work has been performed to restore the traditional interior of the church. By present, the interior of the church proper is as close to the original one as possible. Icons from the churches and chapels of the Kizhi island and its neighbourhood are exhibited in the refectory
Sts. Peter and Paul Chapel is in the village of Volkostrov. It is from the 17th-18th centuries.
The structure consists of the log frameworks of the chapel proper, the refectory and the anteroom. A dome crowns the chapel proper; the tent-like belfry is installed above the anteroom.
Along the southern and northern walls there is a gallery built on the cantilevers. The frameworks are covered with a common gable roof. The second roof is made above the chapel proper. A porch is built on the northern side.
The chapel is decorated with carved details.
Fondest memory: The preliminary measurement was carried out in 1945 by architects A.N.Buinov and I.K.Rybchenko.
The restoration took place in 1953 according to A.V.Opolovnikov’s design.
The chapel of Veronica’s Veil from the village of Vigovo is of the traditional type to the end of the 17th - the beginning of the 18th centuries..
It is a three-part framework covered with a common gable roof. The tent-like belfry is situated on the roof above the anteroom. The eastern section of the framework has a dome installed on a small drum structure. The entrance on the southern side is decorated with a one-flight porch with a gable awning supported by pillars.
Inside the chapel proper the ceiling was painted. The icons of the "sky" date from the second half of the 17th century. The icons of the two-tiered iconostasis were painted in the 18th century.
Fondest memory: In 1968 the chapel was measured by A.V.Opolovnikov and transferred to the island of Kizhi to be restored by his design on the Naryina Hill not far from the village of Yamka (Olkhino). In the course of the chapel restoration, its original outward appearance was reconstructed.
Russia's wooden churches were quickly ravished by rot and fire. Over the centuries, destroyed churches were replaced with larger and more elaborate buildings.
Fondest memory: Built in 1714 during the reign of Peter the Great, the Cathedral of the Transfiguration has 22 soaring onion domes sheathed in hundreds of aspen shingles. No nails were used in the construction of the cathedral, and today many of the spruce logs are weakened by insects and rot. In addition, a shortage of funds has lead to neglect and poorly executed restoration efforts.
Russia's wooden churches often perched on hilltops, overlooking the forests and villages. Although the walls were crudely constructed of roughhewn logs, the roofs were often complex. Onion shaped domes, symbolizing heaven in the Russian Orthodox tradition, were covered with wooden shingles. The onion domes reflected Byzantine design ideas and were strictly decorative. They were constructed of wood framing and served no structural function.
Fondest memory: Located at the northern end of Lake Onega near St. Petersburg, the island of Kizhi (also spelled "Kishi" or "Kiszhi") is famous for its remarkable array of wooden churches. Early mention of the Kizhi settlements are found in chronicles from the 14th and 15th century. In 1960, Kizhi became home to an open-air museum for the preservation of Russia's wooden architecture. Restoration work was supervised by the Russian architect, Dr. A. Opolovnikov.