Chapel of the Dormition (Late 17th Century?), West View, Kizhi Island, Russia


This west view of the Chapel of the Dormition at the village of Vasil'evo 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. It was organized as a museum in 1960. The Chapel of the Dormition, built at the end of the 17th century, rests on a foundation of field stone. Its form is a linear arrangement of log "cells" (klety), with the worship space in the church’s east marked by a cupola covered with aspen shingles over the slanted roof. The lower west cell contains a vestibule (trapeznaia). Over the west end is a small octagonal bell tower whose conical roof is crowned with a cupola and a cross. The chapel is constructed of pine logs joined in a notched (v oblo) method, but the octagonal base of the bell tower is constructed using the dovetail (v lapu) technique, for a tighter bond. The roofs of all the components, from the porch to the main “cell” at the east end, have carved end boards (pricheliny). Along the north facade is an attached bench. In Russian Orthodox practice, a chapel (chasovnia) does not have a space for the altar and is not used for liturgical services.

Last updated: January 11, 2016