Church of the Kazan Icon of the Virgin (1694), Southeast View, Ustiuzhna, Russia


This southeast view of the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Virgin in Ustiuzhna (Vologda Oblast) was taken in 1998 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 became one of the earliest Russian centers of metalworking and achieved special prominence in the 16th century. Ustiuzhna's former commercial importance is reflected in an array of churches, of which the most striking is the cemetery church dedicated to the Kazan Icon of the Virgin. In 1694, funds for rebuilding it 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 an excellent example of the “Stroganov style,” with its white decorative system on painted brick walls. The main structure culminates in five ornamental cupolas and elaborate crosses. A secondary cupola crowns the chapel (pridel) of Saint Antipii (on the left), added to the east end of the south facade in the mid-19th century. Apart from a period during World War II, the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Virgin has remained continuously open for worship and has been relatively well preserved.

Last updated: January 11, 2016