Kizhi Island, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990, is located on Lake Onega in the Russian Republic of Karelia. In spite of its small size, the island is one of the country’s main tourist attractions thanks to a striking collection of wooden structures found there. Created by master carpenters, the buildings incorporate a visionary architectural design into an unsurpassed natural setting.
The best complex structures on Kizhi
A few of the buildings date back to the 14th century, while others were relocated to the island from villages around the region. The most notable are as follows:
– The Transfiguration Church, built without a single nail, reaches some 37m tall. This church is one of the largest wood-only structures in the world. Legend has it that when master carpenter Nestor finished the work, he threw his axe into the lake, declaring that there had never been, and would never be, another church such as this.
– The Church of the Intercession is found alongside the Transfiguration Church, and although slightly smaller, it is every bit as breath-taking as its neighbour. Between them stands an eye-catching octagonal bell tower featuring a large clock, one of the wonders of the site.
– The Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus, the oldest log church in the country, was originally erected at the Monastery of Muromsky and subsequently moved to Kizhi.
An abundance of timber and a lack of awareness of other construction methods led to the development of this unique building style. Mastery of the building techniques, using neither hammers nor nails, gave rise to spectacular works of art created with that most humble of materials: wood.