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Church of the Transfiguration, Kizhi Island, Russia


Settlements and churches on Kizhi Island were known from at least the 15th century. Many villages had disappeared from the island by the 1950s and now only a small rural settlement remains. In the 18th century, two major churches and a bell tower were built on the island.


In the 1950s, dozens of historical wooden buildings were moved to the island from various parts of Karelia for preservation purposes. Nowadays, the entire island and the nearby area form a national open-air museum with more than 80 historical wooden structures.


The most famous building is the Church of the Transfiguration. The 22-dome structure was built in 1714, and is famous for one major engineering feat: Not a single nail was used in the construction. Instead, the church was built with horizontal logs that interlock in the corners.


The church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


I visited the island when I was sailing with Viking River Cruises through Russia. The church and open-air museum are located on Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia.



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