Church of the Intercession (1764), Southwest View, Kizhi Island, Russia


This southwest view of the Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God on Kizhi Island (Karelia) was taken in 1993 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 within an archipelago in the southwestern part of Lake Onega, Kizhi Island is one of the most revered sites in the Russian north, with a pogost, or enclosed cemetery, containing two churches, one dedicated to the Transfiguration and the other to the Intercession. In 1990, this ensemble was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God, built in 1764, consists of a square main structure of pine logs supporting an octagonal tower whose upper part has a wooden attachment in a chevron pattern. Although ornamental in appearance, the bottom of each chevron holds drain spouts to protect the walls from excessive moisture. The roof of the octagon is crowned with nine cupolas sheathed in aspen shingles. On the church’s west end (on the left) is a vestibule (trapeznaia) and elevated porch with ornamental carving. On its east end is an apse containing the altar. The Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God could be heated and thus was known as a “winter church.” In the foreground is a reconstructed wooden wall on a stone base that encloses the territory of the pogost.

Last updated: January 11, 2016