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Kizhi Island

Kizhi Island, Lake Onega

Kizhi is one of 1650 islands on Lake Onega in the region of Karelia and is one of the oldest inhibated sites in Russia. At just 500 km (300 miles) south of the Arctic Circle, it was the northernmost point of our holiday. Despite that, it was a hot July day and we were pleased to be amongst the few who had put on sun block and insect repellent.

Church of the Transfiguration, Kizhi

The Church of the Transfiguration is built entirely without nails. dating from the early 18th century, its 22 domes are made from aspen wood on a pine frame

The small island, just 6km by 1km, is an open air museum of wooden buildings, including a stunning church, a windmill and a bell tower. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We were shown round a typical rural house (isba) which was well-equipped for the cold northern climate, having a bed above the stove and a shelter for the animals on the ground floor. The large Church of the Transfiguration was deteriorating so it was not safe to go inside, but it was possible to visit the smaller Church of the Intercession. As we progressed round Kizhi Island, we could hear some strange music in the wind. The source was revealed when we came close to a tower inside which was a man pulling on strings attached to bells. Kizhi is a fascinating place to visit, especially on a fine day.

Pier at Kizhi Island, Lake Onega
The jetty at Kizhi Island. The sign above the large building (looking a little like 'KNXN') says Kizhi in the Cyrillic alphabet (more about the Russian aphabet)
Church of the Intercession, Kizhi Russian grave markers on Kizhi Island
The church of the Intercession (left). Adjacent are wooden grave markers reminiscent of an early scene in the movie Dr Zhivago
Traditional Russian wooden farm house (isba) on Kizhi Island
We wait outside for our guided tour of this traditional Russian farmhouse (isba)
Bell ringer on Kizhi Island
The man in this tower played a haunting tune, audible all over the island, on the many bells surrounding him
Hydrofoil at Kizhi Island, Karelia, Russia
This hydrofoil was an alternative mode of transport for those who (unlike us) were not on a tight cruise ship schedule

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