Church of the Kazan Icon of the Virgin (1694), West Facade, Ustiuzhna, Russia


This west view of the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Virgin in Ustiuzhna (Vologda Oblast) was taken in 2001 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Located on the Mologa River (a tributary of the Volga River), Ustiuzhna was known already in the mid-13th century for its rich deposits of iron ore. It rapidly became one of the earliest Russian centers of metalworking and achieved special prominence in the 16th century. Although the 18th-century development of the Urals as Russia's primary metal area led to Ustiuzhna's decline, its former commercial importance is reflected in an array of churches, of which the most brilliant is the cemetery church dedicated to the Kazan Icon of the Virgin. In 1694, funds for its rebuilding in brick were provided by Grigorii Stroganov, one of Russia's wealthiest merchants and a patron of richly ornamented church art. The Church of the Kazan Icon of the Virgin is one of the best surviving examples of the “Stroganov style,” with its white decorative system painted on the brick walls. The structure is crowned with five ornamental cupolas and crosses. At its east end the church is flanked by chapels (pridely) dedicated to Saint Catherine (on the left) and Saint Antipii (on the right), each with its own cupola.

Last updated: January 11, 2016