Kizhi Island is a gem in the centre of Lake Onega, Europe’s second largest lake, and a real testimony to Russian history. In the 14th century, the island’s location made it strategic for trading purposes on the route from the Russian town of Novgorod to the White Sea. In the 16th century, an important settlement grew around the Spasskiy Church with the building of the impressive Church of the Transfiguration. In the 17th century, it became a defense post against Swedish and Polish invasions. In the 18th century, the island was also home to several major peasant revolts. Over the centuries, the island transitioned from a location for pagan rituals to an incredible hub for the Orthodox community.
In addition to offering remarkable sights over Lake Onega, the island is home to a unique example of Russian architecture before which all visitors stand in awe. Kizhi Pogost’s structure is a feat of wooden architecture. As a matter of fact, the two wooden churches, the Church of the Intercession and the Church of the Transfiguration, along with the clocktower were built while using nothing but an axe and contain of zero nails. This incredible architectural ensemble, blending perfectly in the natural landscape provided by the island is a true spectacle for the eye.
The island is also an impressive open-air museum showcasing the customs and traditions of Russian traditional life. Learn how wood is carved in this region, watch experts spin wool by hand, make jewelry and transport you into their world. Thousands of words can be used to describe how fairy-tale like Kizhi Island looks, but no words will translate what your eyes will take in while on the island.
Make sure to experience it for yourself on our next exploration of the Russian Waterways September 2, 2020. Save $200* per person if you book and deposit before February 28, 2020. Contact our Cruise Specialists for more information and to book.
Photos courtesy of Group Escort Melanie McIlroy