Яussia* (Day 10)

June 5

Kizhi

3:00 am and we’re on Lake Onega, the 2nd largest lake in Europe (4,000 square miles). We’re heading to Kizhi Island, at 62 degrees north the 3rd farthest north I’ve ever been (Fairbanks and Reykjavik at 65 degrees north). It’s now also much colder – gonna need the woolies today. And we’re trending toward White Nights – almost to 24 hours of daylight here . . .

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[A cruise boat race across Lake Onega . . . ]

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[First sighting of land structures . . . ]

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[But the 9 days of sun and warmth have given way to cool and rainy . . . ]

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[A marker “island” . . . ]

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[Navigation markers . . . ]

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[Aproaching the Kizhi Island Open Air Museum . . . ]

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[And there it is . . . ]

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[This morning on Kizhi Island. Temperature low 40’s, on-and-off hard rain, great day to visit the 22-domed Transfiguration Church, a UNESCO World Heritage site.]

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[Whereas Mandrogy made no pretense of being anything other than a tourist trap (and they should be trapped every once in a while), Kizhi is the real deal.  Kizhi is an island near the geometrical center of Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia. It is elongated from north to south and is about 6 km long, 1 km wide and is about 68 km away from the capital of Karelia, Petrozavodsk.  Settlements and churches on the island were known from at least the 15th century.  In the 18th century, two major churches and a bell tower were built on the island, which are now known as Kizhi Pogost.  Nowadays, the entire island and the nearby area form a national open-air museum with more than 80 historical wooden structures. The most famous is the Kizhi Pogost, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. (Wikipedia).]

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[Photo by Pam . . . ]

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[On the ground, did I mention it was cold and rainy?]

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[But we puddled on . . . ]

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[And there is our destination.  The light created by the changing weather was perfect here – the church appeared “lit” against the dark cloud background . . . ]

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[The church is the last surviving original example of an elaborate form of north Russian church architecture consisting of ascending octagonal tiers buttressed with rectangular extensions at the points of the compass. The various components of the pine log structure are crowned with barrel gables, which support cupolas covered with aspen shingles. For the 22 cupolas of the Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior there are some 30,000 shingles, which were replaced in a restoration during the 1950s. The shingles are cut in a curved form to fit the contours of the cupola frame and are wedged into place beginning with the top row, which fits into a neck at the base of the cross (www.wdl.org). As is obvious, the church is currently undergoing another restoration.]

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[In 1714, the 22-dome Transfiguration Church was constructed and soon after the bell tower was added, thereby completing the Kizhi Pogost. The bell tower was entirely rebuilt in 1862 (Wikipedia).]

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[Not an easy makeover, the scaffolding alone is an architectural wonder . . . ]

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[The existing cupolas . . . ]

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[Other buildings in the “museum” . . . ]

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[An amazing place considering its isolation . . . ]

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[A visit inside where we’re not in the way of the work . . . ]

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[Our youngish guide was obviously very proud of this historic building . . . ]

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[Tom was digging it too!]

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[Duck, low door . . . ]

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[The view from the far side . . . ]

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[Our guide gave detailed reports of the structure’s original design and how it’s being restored . . . ]

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[It was an elaborate explanation, I believe I understood at the time, but now I don’t recall the specifics – something about upgrading the foundation?]

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[And this was an overview as to how these buildings were designed to be comfortable during the long, cold winters . . . ]

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[Maybe a little too cozy inside?]

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[Where we were . . . ]

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[A parting shot, sharing the stage with passengers from another boat . . . ]

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[Heading back to the ship as the rain kicks up again . . . ]

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[Whew, made it . . . ]

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Evening boat time . . . 

[An invitation to a PAR-TAY!]

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[Some PAR-TAY snacks . . . ]

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[An invitation to the bridge of our Viking Akun. My technical question was how often do they have to change wiper blades. 5 years. I guess they don’t have to drive on salty roads?]

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[The captain knew enough English to grin at my question . . . ]

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[Oh, and back to the PAR-TAY, with toasts from the officers . . . ]

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[As usual, an ending for your dining and dancing pleasure . . . ]

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The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become until he goes abroad. I speak now, of course, in the supposition that the gentle reader has not been abroad, and therefore is not already a consummate ass.  ~  Mark Twain

Up Next:  Russia (maybe?) . . .

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