Oshevnev House, from Oshevnevo Village (1876), Kizhi Island, Russia


This southwest view of the Oshevnev house 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 (visible in the background). In the foreground is the Oshevnev house (1876), originally located in the village of Oshevnevo (Medvezh'egorskii District) and reassembled at the Kizhi Museum of Wooden Architecture. The house is one of the finest examples of a prosperous family dwelling in the Russian north. The primary living quarters are on the main floor, in the front, which has an attached gallery as well as an upper story for summer use. The facades of this front part include decorative details of urban origin. The ground floor was used for storage, while the large area in the back, under the sweeping roof, served as a barn to protect livestock from the harsh winters. For all their beauty, such houses were also fortresses built to withstand an extreme climate.

Last updated: January 11, 2016