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Thu Aug 13 2015: The Church of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour


We're trading our motorcycles for a hydrofoil today! It looks like Captain Nemo's submarine, the Nautilus!

We're doing some sightseeing today. We walk down to the harbour in Petrozavodsk and pick up tickets for the 1.5 hour hydrofoil ride across Lake Onega to Kizhi Island. There we are going to visit the Kizhi Open-Air Museum, also known as the Kizhi Museum of Wooden Architecture. It's a UNESCO site, so that means we *have* to go visit it. We're like thousands of miles away from Latin America but somehow we're still on the Gringo Trail!

On Kizhi Island, there are several wooden buildings that have been relocated and reassembled from all over Karelia. The main exhibit is called the Kizhi Pogost (enclosure), which is collection of three buildings (two churches and a bell tower), of which the most famous of the three that everyone comes to visit is the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour.


Two of the churches in the Pogost. As we get closer, dark skies quickly begin to roll in

You know, we managed to lose the RideDOT.com rains in Finland, enjoying pretty clear weather for most of our time there. But now the rains seemed to have caught our scent again and before we know it, it starts coming down so hard that we're forced to take shelter in one of the other wooden houses just outside the Pogost.


Inside a typical house

This house is part of another exhibit called "The Russians of Zaonezhye". In this exhibit, there are several wooden houses that have been relocated from the eastern shores of Lake Onega. They date back to the late 1800s-early 1900s and are typical peasant houses that have been decorated inside to show what life was like in that period.

There was a tour group in the building led by a guide explaining what everything was. In Russian. Which neither of us understood, so everything I'm writing is from the Internet. There were actually a few different tour groups packed into this building because of the rain. From the way the Russian tourists were staring at me, I got the impression that everyone on the tour knew that we had brought the rains with us.


My camera is happy to find an indigenous Russian person!

Indigenous craftswork!

Unfortunately these aren't real indigenous people. They work at the museum and are just dressed up to show the period clothing. That makes my camera sad.

We have something exactly like this in Toronto called Black Creek Pioneer Village. They've also collected buildings from all over South-West Ontario and from around the same period (1800s) as well and reassembled them all in one place. And they too have employed students to dress up in period costumes so you can take pictures with them.

Wow. We rode all the way to Russia just to visit Black Creek Pioneer Village... :)


Checking to see if it's still raining outside, looks good?

Yes, time to explore outside. That's a traditional farm house over there

Looking for food? Stick around, I'll see if I can Scare something up.

The Archangel Michael Chapel in the background

Not indigenous Russians on their lunch break

Carving wooden dolls for the gift shop

Archangel Michael Chapel

The crosses on top of these churches are a bit different than the ones I'm used to seeing. They have three cross beams and the bottom one is angled. I found out that these are the crosses of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The top beam is symbolic of the plaque that bears Pontius Pilate's inscription, the middle beam is the part of the cross that the hands are nailed to, and the bottom angled beam is the foot support.


There was a guy ringing out the church bells of Archangel Michael Chapel

But the most famous bells are in the Bell Tower of Kizhi Pogost. It's right next to the Transfiguration Church
and is the third building in the Kizhi Pogost exhibition

The windmill from the village of Volkostrov


In the foreground is the Church of the Intercession, it has 8 onion-shaped domes while the Church of the Transfiguration has 22!

I'm so glad the weather cleared up. The wood on the domes made it seem like they were made of silver, glistening in the sunlight! The original church was supposedly built without a single nail. It's changed over time, but in 1950 it was restored to its original design. Unfortunately when we visited there were extensive renovations to the body of the church. It would have been nice to see it without all the scaffolding.


Hey, they lied! I see nails! This was a sample cutaway
showing how the overlapping tiling is arranged on the onion domes

The domes look very Oriental. Domo Arigato.

I'm not sure these were real priests, but they sang some hymns acapella and they had beautiful voices.
I don't think they were real priests because they were selling their CD off to the side.

Tour group exiting one of the buildings, almost everyone visiting was Russian

More renovations

We hiked around the island a little bit and saw how the rich Russians tourists arrive! Oh well, back to our hydrofoil...

This was a pretty cool place to visit and it was waaay better than Black Creek Pioneer Village! Getting to Russia was kind of stressful because we had to stay on a schedule through most of Scandinavia. But seeing stuff like this is starting to make it all worthwhile.

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