Church of the Annuciation (1692), Northeast View, Kargopol', Russia


This northeast view of the Church of the Annunciation in Kargopol' (Arkhangel'sk Oblast') 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. Kargopol' is one of the oldest settlements in the Russian north, founded perhaps in the 12th, or even the 11th, century. Its location near Lake Lacha and the source of the Onega River (which flows into the White Sea) enabled Kargopol' to benefit from trade in salt and other products of the northern forests. The resulting wealth led to the construction of impressive churches, a number of which have survived. The Church of the Annunciation, completed in 1692, gave its name to an adjacent market square flanked by other churches. Most masonry buildings in Muscovite Russia were of brick, but the presence of nearby quarries provided limestone for churches in Kargopol’ in the 16th and 17th centuries. Culminating in five onion domes, the ponderous structure has a large apse (visible here) for the altar. The church is distinguished by the remarkable quality of its carved limestone ornamentation on the façades and the window surrounds. The interior of the church was ransacked during the Soviet era, and only traces of a neoclassical icon screen remain.

Last updated: January 11, 2016