Church of the Transfiguration
On an island on Russia’s Lake Onega, there lies an 18th-century historical site called Kizhi Pogost, which is surrounded by an ancient wooden fence. Within this site lies the 22-domed Church of the Transfiguration, one of the oldest wooden structures in the world, as well as one of the most beautiful churches.
There are numerous interesting facts about this structure, chief among them the fact that it was built without a single nail, and instead was put together using interlocking logs. Thousands of these logs were brought in from mainland Russia to build the Church of the Transfiguration—a difficult task for its early time period.
The intricacy of this church’s architecture is unmatched, and is considered by locals to be a wonder of the world. Legends say that the original builder, Master Nestor, built the church using nothing but one axe, and after he was finished, cast the axe into the lake, proclaiming that “there was not and will be not another one to match it.”
The original church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground in 1693, and it was rebuilt around 1713 using the same materials and techniques. The Church of the Transfiguration’s all-wooden architecture blends perfectly into its wooded surroundings, seeming a natural—if ornate—part of the landscape.
The church is unheated in the harsh Russian winters, and thus, is used only in the summer months, so if you’re planning a visit, make sure it’s during this time.