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The KIZHI State Open-Air Museum of History, Architecture and Ethnography

Kizhi is one of the one thousand six hundred fifty islands of Lake Onego where on a small eminence in the middle of water there rise amazing and inimitable pieces of North Russian architecture. It is impossible to visit Karelia without taking a trip to Kizhi. Wooden churches and log huts made by Karelian carpenters became masterpieces of world architecture.

Now Kizhi is the open-air museum of wooden architecture. It is located in 65 km distance from Petrozavodsk. Territory of the museum totals more than ten thousand hectares. It includes the Kizhi island itself, and islands located next to it, as well as a site of continental coast. The architectural complex includes 70 monuments of folk wooden architecture of XV-XX centuries. The gem of the complex is the Kizhi Pogost Ensemble. It consists of the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour (1714), the Church of the Intercession (1764) and the bell-tower (1874).

Except for the monuments comprising the basic exposition, in territory of the museum there are a few ancient villages. Valuable natural objects and also monuments of archeology have been revealed there. Church of the Raising of Lazarus which is the most ancient building for public worship in the Russian North (XIV century), a few chapels, peasant houses, many utility structures, such as barns, rick-yards, baths which for centuries were built in Russian, Karelian and Veppsian villages of different areas of Onego lakeside, as well as in the North and South Karelia. Its collection of monuments of architecture totals 76 buildings.

In 1990 the monuments of the Kizhi Pogost and the surrounding buildings were included into the List of the All-World Significant Cultural and Natural Heritage by UNESCO general session decision.

For more information on Kizhi island please see the web-site of the The KIZHI State Open-Air Museum of History, Architecture and Ethnography

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Created: October 3, 2001. Last updated: September 17, 2009.
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