Cathedral of the Dormition (1711-1717), North Chapel of Saints Zosima and Savvatii, Northeast View, Kem', Russia


This northeast view of the Cathedral of the Dormition in Kem' (Karelia) was taken in 2001 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 on the southwest shore of the White Sea, the Kem’ region belonged to the medieval trading center of Novgorod until the end of the 15th century. In the 16th century, Kem’ became an important outpost on Muscovy’s northwest flank and served as a gateway to the Solovetskii Islands. Built in 1711-17, the Cathedral of the Dormition is one of the most interesting wooden structures in Russian architecture. Its core consists of three octagonal components crowned with tent towers supporting cupolas covered with aspen shingles. Each component rests on a square base and has its own altar. This photograph shows the north chapel (pridel), dedicated to the Solovetskii saints Zosima and Savvatii. Completed in 1714, this chapel is 24 meters in height and has its own exterior entrance. The apse, located in the east (on the left), culminates in a barrel gable (bochka), with a small cupola and cross designating the altar. The logs of the main structure are joined in a notched (v oblo) method, but the polygonal apse is constructed using the dovetail (v lapu) technique for a tighter bond.

Last updated: January 11, 2016