Church of the Transfiguration (1714), West View, Sunset, Kizhi Island, Russia


This spectacular west view of the Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior on Kizhi Island (Karelia) was taken in 1991 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 and a bell tower. 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, built circa 1714. It is the last surviving original example of an elaborate form of wooden church architecture consisting of ascending octagonal pine log tiers buttressed with rectangular extensions at the points of the compass. The various components of the structure are crowned with barrel gables and cupolas (22 in all) covered with some 30,000 aspen shingles, all replaced in a restoration during the 1950s. The lower part of the west facade has an entrance consisting of two flights of stairs meeting under a central gable. The light-colored vertical beams are temporary braces for the endangered structure. This photograph was taken from Lake Onega, in the rich evening glow of early August.

Last updated: January 11, 2016