We were now at the most northern part of our adventures through rural Russia with Volga Dream and Cox & Kings in the centre of Europe’s largest lake to stop at another UNESCO world heritage site, Kizhi Island. This open-air museum founded in 1951 is now a favourite tourist attraction. It may be only 7 km by 0.5 km, but it is home to some of the most striking traditional Russian architecture and some of the world’s finest wooden buildings.
Wooden architecture can be found throughout Russia, but Kizhi Island boasts some of the nation’s most famous, and most intricate examples that have become a UNESCO world heritage site. It even has a special ruble coin that was issued in Russia in 1995 in honour of Kizhi Island!
Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus
The highlight is the 22 dome Transfiguration Cathedral, one of the largest log structures in the world.
Again, just how incredible is it that no nails were used in the construction of the wooden architecture of Kizhi Island? Instead, pieces of wood have been notched together to form even the most intricate structures.
The Church of the Transfiguration Interior
The Church of the Transfiguration is one of the highlights of Kizhi Island (as seen above). And although it is undergoing restoration, I was able to visit the Church of the Intercession, built in 1764, and was able to listen to an incredibly special performance. I find Russian Orthodox chant so special to listen to because it is unlike any other sacred music. You can clearly hear the Western artistic influences brought into Russia in the 18th century, however it remains thoroughly Russian at the same time. I was so lucky enough to hear many of these performances throughout my Russian trip like nothing else I have experienced.
So much of the charm of the reconstructed village on Kizhi Island is the demonstration of traditional crafts and tasks of peasant life in the Karelia Region of Russia.
As a traveller, you always want to see places as they existed in their original time, and that’s what makes Kizhi Island so special to me. I’ll treasure these souvenirs I now have that you can see above and below. And as a crafter myself I so deeply admire their artistry.
After meeting the locals who are keeping alive the ancient crafts alive, we then visited a typical peasant’s house to see how the extended family and animals lived as early as the 18th century.
Russian Peasant’s House
Inside this large wooden
These homes each housed one huge close knit family together inside for approximately five months of each year. There was always a bath house located away from the main house where people could bathe and take a sauna, even in the winter.
The families’ most prized possessions included their best china, that
I can’t believe how blessed we were with the weather in Russia at this point in my trip. It made somewhere like Kizhi Island especially beautiful during the long northern
Are you equally captivated by the otherworldly Kizhi Island? I really hope you’re enjoying following my adventures through Rural Russia so far with Volga Dream.If you’re playing catch up, the first stop was the charming Svirstroy and I started my adventures in the majestic St. Petersburg.