Saturday, May 12, 2012

Photo Nostalgia - Kizhi (Russia, Day 5)

After 4 consecutive days in St. Petersburg, I decided to go through with a day-trip that I had been dreaming about = going to the island of Kizhi on Europe's second largest lake, Lake Onega.  This involved an overnight train ride from St. Petersburg to Petrozavodsk, about a 9 hour trip.  It wasn't exactly a Club Med vacation, but the experience (and photo opportunity) was worth it.

 Once I arrived in Petrozavodsk, around 7am, I took a taxi to the port on the lake.  However, although the ticket office would open just an hour later, I would come to find out that there was only ONE boat that day to Kizhi, which would leave at 11:30am and would cost $60 US.  Ouch on two fronts.

 Ah well... time to lounge for 4 1/2 hours in the capital of Karelia.  

 A memorial to a tragic event of some sort.

 Yep, still in Russia...

 Although this part of Russia was fairly recently claimed from Finland by the Soviets.  The frayed Russian and Karelian flags flutter side by side.

 With so much time on my hands, and no book to read (what was I thinking?), I walked from the port up the road... and back.  Quite the holiday.

 Pirates of Lake Onega?

 A view towards Petrozavodsk.

 I wasn't the only one going to Kizhi.

 Finally on the move = the trip took 75 minutes to go 66 km.  That's actually extremely swift.


 BOOM = money well spent.

 The Church of the Transfiguration was built in the early 18th century, completely out of wood and without using a single nail.  Yeah, I have no idea either.

 A map of the small island.

 We had this planked walkway to guide us from the port.

 It cost me $25 US for the entrance ticket and the English-audio guide (similar to what this guy was wearing).  This was turning into an expensive side excursion... and yet I have no regrets.

 Kinda felt like a religious Disneyland at times...

 There are 22 domes to the Transfiguration Church.  Again, all wood, no nails.  Interlocking pieces were the key.

 This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by the way.

 The interior of the Transfiguration Church was sadly closed for renovations, but the next-door Church of the Intercession had its restored sanctuary available for visitors, with clergy on hand.

 The icons were of spectacular quality, from the Novgorod school.

 There are other wooden structures on Kizhi, although obviously none are as spectacular as the principal three structures (the two churches and the bell tower).

 Although windmills are always awesome.

After spending a few hours on Kizhi, it was time to take the ferry back to Petrozavodsk, where I'd wait multiple hours for another night train, back to St. Petersburg.  It was an arduous but rewarding experience, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  We definitely don't have these churches here in America, after all.

Coming up next = Peterhof.  Stay tuned.

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