Log Church of the Epiphany (also known as Nativity of the Virgin), (1617), Northwest View, with Kama River in Background, Pianteg, Russia


This photograph of the southeast view of the log Church of the Epiphany (also known as the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God) in the village of Pianteg (Perm' Region) was taken in 1999 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Situated on the steep left bank of the Kama River some 40 kilometers southwest of Cherdyn', the Pianteg church is the oldest surviving log structure in the western Urals, with dates for its construction ranging from the late 1500s to no later than 1617. The unusual hexagonal form of this archaic structure (polygonal Russian log churches typically have eight sides) suggests a possible derivation from log fortress towers. In fact, the church is situated at a bend in the Kama (visible in the background) and may have served a dual function as a watch tower. Until the early 20th century, the structure rested on a square base, and studies indicate that the original design culminated in an elevated "tent" roof that is found in many other polygonal log churches of the same period. Attached to the east side of the tower is an apse with extended upper logs that support a steeply-pitched roof (visible here). The entrance, on the west side, is framed by a small porch.

Last updated: January 11, 2016