Island of Kizhi

September 22, 2005

The Island of Kizhi was one of my favorite stops.   Only about 310 miles from the Arctic Circle, it was quiet cold.   We arrived just at sunrise and the sight was beautiful.   The most important and imposing attraction in the Cathedral of Transfiguration with its 22 domes.   It and all the other structures of importance on the island are made of wood.

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After leaving the boat, I found that it was bordering on being very cold.   Mieko had jumped me for trying to go out without a warmer jacket.   To satisfy her I put on additional clothing and I was glad I did.  

The detail of these structures was very interesting.   There is the Cathedral, a couple of churches one of which is 600 years old, a farmhouse, bell tower and windmill.   All these buildings were built without fasteners, no nails, no bolts.   Everything is fitted and held together by joinery — even the shingles on the roofs and domes.

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The following photos were taken inside the farmhouse.   Exterior shots will come after these.   We were ushered into the kitchen which was quiet a large room.   It was explained that during the winter, everyone moved into the kitchen since this would be the only room with any heat.   This one room provided for cooking, sleeping, eating and a place for a couple of chickens.   All the furnishings were roughly hand made but worn to a smooth finish.

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The last photo above is the chicken cage.   It was located in a corner of the kitchen.   The first photo below shows where the small children would have slept — on top of the oven.

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The following is a display of a embroidery that appears the same on the front and the reverse.   That shown on the left is a mirror image of that on the back of the right.   The beading in the center photo was also very interesting.   The start of this work is a single strand of very small beads.   To develop the final pattern, this single strand had tiny beads of different colors in a particular order.   Then this single strand was somehow then twisted into a larger strand with an all together different pattern.

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In back of but attached to the living quarters of the farmhouse, was space for animals, horses and cows, and sleighs.

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The last photo above is an apparatus for crushing straw to "fluff" it for use in mattresses.   The following photos are of the outside of this farmhouse.

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The windmill above is not fixed to a foundation.   It is setting on timbers that allow it to be rotated into the wind.   Our guide told us that this windmill could be turned by one horse or three men or one Russian woman.   (This brings to mind.   The typical Russian woman that we all remember from the days of Stalin is no longer.   Oh, we saw some very old women with scarf on head, long grey overcoat and barely any shoes.   But for the most part the women of Russia today are slim, young, healthy in appearance and very pretty.)

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The last four photos were taken inside one of the churches on the island.   The window treatment got the attention of myself and others because of the sharp barb like points on the bars.   These bars were steel and perhaps to discourage someone with intent on stealing some of the contents.   The paintings are icons.   Icons were painted on wood and depict events of the Christian faith.   There are always five layers of icons on church walls.

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As we arrived back at our boat, a hydrofoil came to the dock and unloaded a lot of people.   We saw several of these boats but never in the open water and underway.   Inside, there were treats laid out to help us warm ourselves.   The big silver urn is a tea pot that is commonly used throughout the country.

Departing Kizhi around noon, we had a nice day of sailing.   Finally, we are seeing some of the birch and or aspen trees.

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Logs, logs, logs!   As can be seen, this is a big business in this area.   The houses and boat houses and the accumlation of "stuff" was also interesting to observe.

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Around 6 p.m. we headed into the Vytegra Canal where upon we came to the first of six locks that are in this Canal.   This one took us up another 43 - 44 feet.   Inspecting the construction of this lock it could not go unnoticed the spalling concrete and the small amount of reinforcing.   Of course, oil coats the walls.

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We would pass through the five remaining locks before midnight and rise 220 feet.   I know that no one as been keeping track; when we pass this last lock tonight, we will be 380 feet higher than at St. Petersburg.   By schedule, we would be in this canal all night and early the next morning enter the White Lake.   It would take about 2 hours to cross the lake and enter the Sheksna River.

Next   —   Goritzy