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Objects of cultural heritage of Karelia

April 18is the International day of protection of monuments and remarkable sights. It is widely celebrated in 65 countries of the world, including Russia. In our country protection of objects of cultural heritage is carried out within the scope of the Russian and regional legislation according to the government programs and projects. Security actions cover both separate unique objects, and complex monuments, historical settlements, whole historical and cultural territories.

In Kareliya on the official data now there are 4500 landed objects of cultural heritage. Among them there are monuments of archeology, objects of wooden national architecture, historical monuments, cult complexes, architectural ensembles, etc. Government registration is a basis of activity in the sphere of government protection of objects of cultural heritage. The Republican center on government protection of objects of cultural heritage has been engaged in the organization of this work for more than 20 years. This work is multi-aspect and quite complex, considering different kinds of objects. It includes both inspection and gathering of registration information on monuments, and organization of their studying, carrying out of examinations, definition of objects for protection. As any registration activity, this work assumes periodic inventories. Last inventory of monuments of history and culture of Karelia was held in 1992-1993 within the framework of the all-Russian task for drawing up a database on monuments of the Russian Federation.

In 2006 the Republican Center has started new large-scale work on inventory of objects of cultural heritage of Karelia. The purpose of this work is collecting data for inclusion of monuments of history and culture of the Republic of Karelia in the Uniform state register of objects of cultural heritage (monuments of history and culture) of the Russian Federation. This work includes specification of existing data, examination of technical condition of monuments and safety of historical environment of settlements, gathering of data on proprietors and users of objects, definition of geographical coordinates, photofixing.

Within two years by forces of experts of the Center it has been surveyed about 500 objects of cultural heritage in Pryazha, Kondopoga, Pudozh, and Suojarvi regions, in Zaonezhie and on Kizhi island.

On the basis of materials received as a result of inventory, the Center has started to work on creation of catalogues of objects of cultural heritage of Karelia. Catalogues will be published as supplement to the Code of objects of cultural heritage of the Republic of Karelia. Electronic versions of catalogues will be located on the site of the Center.

Now the Objects of National Wooden Architecture in Historical and Cultural Territories of Syamozero Lakeside and Pryazha Interlake District catalogue is prepared for publishing. These territories are located in Pryazha and partially in Suojarvi region around Syamozero, Shotozero, Vagatozero, Kroshnozero lakes. Historically developed system of residing of the ethnic group of Pryazha (Syamozero) Karelians-Livviks which is based on historical settlements, overland and water communication routes generated in centuries, and valuable natural landscape environment was kept here. A number of villages in which traditional space-planning structure and historical building was kept in full or partially are included in the list of the historical localities of Karelia. These are villages of Kashalilamba, Korza, Lahta, Korbinavolok, Trofimnavolok, Pavshoila, Punchoila, Rubchoila, Ruga, Syargilahta, Kharitgora, Chunavolok. Building of historical settlements is presented by traditional peasant housing complexes and standing aside utility structures: barns, saunas, sheds. Special role in building of settlements belongs to chapels which together with cult groves are original architectural dominants. Due to preserved historical environment these settlements now represent original reserves of national wooden architecture and traditional Karelian culture.

82 monuments are included in the Objects of National Wooden Architecture in Historical and Cultural Territories of Syamozero Lakeside and Pryazha Interlake District catalogue, among which there are 57 houses, 6 utility structures, 19 cult structures (chapels, worship crosses). Among them there are unique chapels which are objects of the all-Russian value. The oldest of them is the chapel of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles built in XVI century. It is located in the surburb of ancient Syamozero village of Ahpojla. Once the chapel was in the center of a cult or "sacred" grove of which now only a few centuries-old fur-trees and an old cemetery remind. Unfortunately, archives have no information on history of construction of this monument. It is only known, that originally it there was a two-piece cage construction consisting of a worship premise and inner porch, in second half of the XIX century, according to church canons of that time, it has been transformed into a three-piece (chapel, refectory, inner porch). Above the inner porch there was built a tetrahedral belfry with a cap roof. In 1973-74, during the restoration the late extension has been disassembled, and initial shape was returned to the monument. Despite of transformations and almost five-century age, the chapel has kept archaic constructive elements which are now found quite seldom. Walls of the core frame have fellings, in the worship premise there remained a small window, roofing covering of the chapel is executed in the form of continuous log centring on which the two-layer plank nail roof is laid, roof of the inner porch is plank nailless on supporting beams in the shape of hooks and eaves beams with internal drainage. Unfortunately, a long time ago the village has turned into the present housing estate where the chapel with its cult grove have lost the role of natural architectural accent of the settlement. However, residents of the settlement treat this unique monument with understanding and care preserving it from destruction.

Another monument of federal value is the chapel of St. Nicolas the Miracle-Worker and Ilya the Prophet located in the surburb of the village of Chuinavolok in the fur-tree grove on the northern coast of Syamozero lake. Despite of rather large scale, the chapel is not an independent architectural dominant because of the site, and together with the grove it plays a role of peripheral accent in rural building. In the same grove there was a worship cross transported in the beginning of 1970s to Kizhi open air museum.

The chapel was constructed in the second half of the XVIIIth century and is related to the widespread in the north of Russia type of cage cult constructions, but has a number of features. Unlike others cage chapels, the temple premise is divided by a partition into two side altars: Nicolas' and Ilya's. Above the refectory there towers a small octahedral belfry completed with a low tent with bulbous dome. In spite of the fact that in the temple there are two chapels, as a matter of fact, only one central dome crowns it. With the lapse of time shape of the monument remained almost unchanged.

In 1998 this monument became the object of carrying out of joint restoration works of Karelian and Norwegian carpenters-restorers. For the first time in Karelia there has been applied special Norwegian lifting equipment intended to lift the frame to replace some rows of beams without complete reassembly. Use of lifting equipment has allowed to lift the entire building on necessary height, fix it in this position and to replace the bottom decayed rows of beams. Then the frame was put down on its place and adjusted to new rows of beams. Further restoration works were carried out in traditional ways. The unique equipment has been donated to the Center and successfully used on other objects in Karelia.

This year inventory of objects of cultural heritage of Karelia will continue. The republican center will organize expeditions to Kem region and to historical and cultural territory of Segozerie of Medvezhiegorsk region. By the end of the year the second catalogue - Architectural Heritage of Pudozh Town will be prepared for publication.

Valentina Markova,
Elena Balykova
(On information provided by the Republican center
on government protection of objects of cultural heritage)

Technical support
Created: April 23, 2008. Last updated: April 24, 2008.
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