Church of the Annunciation (1762), Northwest View, Ustiuzhna, Russia


This northwest view of the Church of the Annunciation 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. The town’s former commercial importance is reflected in an array of churches. The Church of the Annunciation, located on the high right bank of the small Vorozha River (a tributary of the Mologa), was built in 1694 with funds raised from local donors. Its main structure, crowned with five ornamental cupolas and crosses, has polychrome decoration on a facade of whitewashed brick. The low refectory, heated for worship in the winter, contained two secondary altars dedicated to Archangel Michael and Saint Dmitrii Rostovskii. At the west end of the church is an octagonal bell tower with a “tent” roof whose openings amplify the bell sound. Closed in 1935, the church was used for agricultural storage until 1958, when the empty structure was transferred to the local museum.

Last updated: January 11, 2016