Pogost Ensemble, Church of the Intercession (1764) (Right); with Bell Tower (19th Century); and Church of the Transfiguration (1714), South View, Kizhi Island, Russia


This south view of the main church ensemble 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 wooden churches. In 1990, this ensemble was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The site’s dominant feature is the Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior (background), built around 1714. To the left is the bell tower (1862) built of logs with plank siding. In the foreground is the Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God, built in 1764. It consists of a square main structure of pine logs supporting an octagonal tower with 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 (on the left) end 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.”

Last updated: January 11, 2016