Church of the Dormition (1774), South Facade, Kondopoga, Russia


This south view of the Church of the Dormition in Kondopoga (Karelia) was taken in 2000 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 an inlet of Lake Onega, Kondopoga existed as a settlement by the late 15th century. In the mid-18th century its significance increased with the discovery in two nearby villages of rich sources of marble, used for the construction of some of Saint Petersburg's most notable buildings. Deposits of iron ore also contributed to the area's prosperity. The Church of the Dormition, built in 1774, reflects a thriving local culture in the late 18th century. With its soaring vertical shape, standing like a beacon at the water's edge, the church is one of the most impressive landmarks of northern Russian wooden architecture. The central part of the church is a two-story square structure of pine logs, buttressed on its eastern side with a large apse (on the right) that culminates in a flared barrel gable and a cupola covered with aspen shingles. The central component supports an octagonal tower crowned with a “tent” roof 15 meters in height, with a large cupola and cross. (The entire structure approaches 50 meters). On its west side, the church extends in a large vestibule (trapeznaia) with a secondary altar.

Last updated: January 11, 2016