Author Topic: Cruise ships and boats to Kizhi  (Read 3104 times)

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Cruise ships and boats to Kizhi
« on: January 15, 2010, 12:45:33 AM »
Cruise ships and boats to Kizhi

Kizhi is an island on Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia, Russia with an ensemble of wooden churches, chapels and houses. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Russia and an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kizhi island is about 7 km long and 0.5 km wide. It is surrounded by about 5,000 other islands, most of which are very small — some mere rock outcroppings (called "skerries"), though some are as big as 35 km long. Access to Kizhi is provided by hydrofoil (several trips a day from Petrozavodsk during the summer months), cruise ship, helicopter, and snowcat (in the winter). There is no lodging on Kizhi for overnight guests, except some guest houses in neighbouring villages.

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. 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 granaries, 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.

The jewel of its architecture is the 22-domed Transfiguration Church (was founded in 1714)[2], with a large iconostasis — a wooden screen covered with religious portraits, featuring much gold leaf. 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. The smaller, ten-domed Intercession Church (also known as the "winter church") was built in 1764, and its iconostasis is intact and can be seen by visitors. The third structure inside the Pogost is the belltower which was built in 1874. The belltower is also constructed with walls of horizontally-fitted logs, though they are covered by exterior wooden planks and cannot be seen. The churches were also covered by planks in the 1860s. This wooden bordering was dismantled during restoration in the 1950s. 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.

A museum of Russian wooden architecture was created in Kizhi by Soviet authorities in 1960. Wooden structures were transported to Kizhi from various parts of Karelia, notably the 16th century St. Lazarus church from the Muromsky Monastery, which is one of the oldest wooden churches in Russia. Other notable specimens of Russian wooden architecture may be found in Kondopoga and Kem.