Sergin House, from Munozero Village (1880s), Kizhi Island, Russia


This southwest view of the Sergin house on Kizhi Island (Karelia) was taken in 1988 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. Originally located in the village of Munozero (Medvezh'egorskii District), the Sergin house (1880s) was reassembled in the Kizhi village of Vasil’evo. The house is one of the best examples in the Russian north of a large family dwelling. The main entrance is marked on the south facade by a porch (in the center in this view) that leads to the first floor. Above the porch is a balcony for the second story. Both floors were used as primary living quarters. The top of the house has a half-story for summer use. All three levels display rich decorative carving from both folk and urban sources, culminating in an impressive pediment. The back part of the house under the same roof served as a barn to protect livestock during the winter. For all their beauty, such houses were also fortresses built to withstand an extreme climate.

Last updated: January 11, 2016