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Museums of Wooden architecture of Russia

In most of the largest cities of Russia there are Museums of Wooden Architecture. They contain churches and houses brought from different villages. In Russia, the nobles did not build stone castles; however, the construction of wood was very common for several centuries.

In this review on the online travel guides Geomerid you can read about the most interesting museums of wooden architecture in Russia:

1.    Kizhi Museum of Wooden Architecture
2.    Shushenskoye Museum of Wooden Architecture
3.    Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture
4.    Bogoslovka Museum of Wooden Architecture
5.    The Museum of Wooden Architecture in Suzdal
6.    Museum Kostroma Sloboda
7.    Museum of Wooden Architecture in Kolomenskoye
8.    Museum Shchelkovsky Farm
9.    Wooden architecture of Tomsk
10.    Wooden architecture of Tomsk
11.    Ethnographic village of Kostroma
12.    Semenkovo Museum of Wooden Architecture

Click on the hyperlinks to read in detail about each museum and see a large number of photos

Kizhi Museum of Wooden Architecture

The world`s famous Kizhi Museum of Wooden Architecture is on a small island in the north of Onega Lake. You can reach it only by a ship from the city of Petrozavodsk, which is 68 kilometers from Kizhi.

The primary monument of universal importance is rightly considered the 22-domed Church of Transfiguration of Our Savior built in 1714. There remained the four-tier iconostasis including 102 icons of 17-18 centuries painted by northern icon-painters. Nearby, in 1764 there was built the 9-domed steepled Church of Intercession of Our Lady, and in 1874 a bell tower was added to the architectural ensemble. Later, it was fenced by single log wall.

Shushenskoye Museum of Wooden Architecture

Shushenskoye Museum of Wooden Architecture is one of the most interesting Russian museums of wooden architecture comparable to a similar museum in Kizhi (Karelia) is located 500 kilometers to the south of Krasnoyarsk in Shushenskoye. A Siberian village of the end of 19 century was completely preserved on an area of 16 hectares.

The location of this museum in such a remote place is related to the fact that in 1897-1900 in Shushenskoye Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin) served his exile, who then headed the revolution 1917. The memorial part of the exposition has 29 houses, 23 of which are the original houses of the end of 19 century. Of a particular interest are the house of Zyryanov where Lenin lived the first year of his exile and the house of Petrova where he moved after he was joined by N. К. Krupskaya. 

Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture

An interesting sight of Novgorod the Great, the Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture, is 4 kilometers from the city, on the road running along the Lake Myachino. It would be better to combine a visit to the museum with a trip to the St. Yuri Monastery, which is in the immediate vicinity of the Vitoslavlitsy museum.

The Vitoslavlitsy museum of wooden architecture was founded in 1964, when they began to bring there wooden churches and houses from the northern regions of Russia. The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary from the village Peredky. It is the most ancient and also the biggest and most beautiful church in the Vitoslavlitsy museum. Its quaint architectural shape, an octahedron on the cross-shaped base, was spread in that period of time.

Bogoslovka Museum of Wooden Architecture

The Bogoslovka Museum of Wooden Architecture is located 20 kilometers southeast of the center of St. Petersburg, near the village of Metallostroy. The estate is located on the right bank of the Neva River in a park area. The Bogoslovka Museum was founded on this site in 2004, it recreated the lost masterpieces of wooden architecture of the north of Russia.   

The Intercession Church with 20 domes is very similar to the famous Transfiguration Church in Kizhi. Both churches were located on Lake Onega. Perhaps they were built by the same artel of builders. The Transfiguration Church in Kizhi was built in 1716, and the Intercession Church in Ankhimovo 6 years earlier – in 1708. The original Intercession Church in the village of Ankhimovo can be seen in the color photo of Prokudin-Gorsky. There it looks like a stone one, but in fact, it is covered with boards and painted white. 

In 1963, the Intercession Church in the village of Ankhimovo burned down during a fire. However, a few years before the fire, the architect Alexander Opolovnikov, who created the Museum in Kizhi, made detailed measurements of the church. He wrote in his book Treasures of the Russian North: "The churches in Vytegra and Kizhi are outstanding monuments of Russian wooden architecture. They are so strongly connected by ties of genetic kinship that they can be considered blood sisters." Based on his drawings, the architects of the Bogoslovka Museum were able to recreate an exact copy of the Intercession Church from the village of Ankhimovo. The church has been consecrated and now services are being held there. 

Museum of Wooden Architecture in Suzdal

Suzdal museums of Wooden Architecture is one of the most interesting in Russian. It is located not far from the Suzdal Kremlin. The wooden houses and churches from various districts of the Vladimir region were collected at the museum.

At first from the Suzdal district and then from the entire Vladimir region, they began to take there beautiful specimens of wooden architecture: churches and residential houses, as well as various household structures such as barns, mills, etc. At the entrance to the museum one can admire two beautiful wooden churches, those of Resurrection and Transfiguration.

Museum of Wooden Architecture Kostroma Sloboda

Museum of Wooden Architecture Kostroma Sloboda was created in 1955, when they began to bring to the walls of the Ipatiev monastery the most interesting items of the Russian wooden architecture. At the entrance to the museum there is a pond where you can have a boat ride, and on its bank you can see a beautiful tiered church of the Virgin Mary from the village Kholm dating back to 1552.

The other exhibits, mainly izbas (log huts) of 16-18 centuries, are placed along the main street of the Kostroma Sloboda. There you can see both the izbas of well-to-do peasants and merchants, and the simplest peasant izbas – all in all 28 houses and structures. You can see the interiors of residential spaces and outhouses.

Museum of Wooden Architecture in Kolomenskoye

The exhibits of the Kolomenskoye Museum of Wooden Architecture are located in different parts of the Kolomenskoye estate. There are many examples of wooden architecture, which have a real historical value, such as: the house of Peter I from Arkhangelsk, the towers of Bratsk ostrog, churches and towers of ostrogs from the region of the White Sea and Karelia. There you can also see the restored wooden palace of the Russian tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, which was built at Kolomenskoye in 17 century.

Most of the wooden structures is in the north of the park, nearer to Kolomenskoye subway station. The house of Peter I is in the center of the park, not far from the Church of Our Lady of Kazan. The wooden palace of Alexei Mikhailovich was restored based on the pictures and engravings of 17 century. But it is rather far (2 km) from its original location in the south of the park, near Kashirskaya subway station.

Museum of Wooden Architecture Shchelkovsky Farm

The Shchelkovsky Farm ethnographic Museum of wooden architecture is located on the southern outskirts of Nizhny Novgorod. Here you can see wooden churches and houses brought from different villages of the Nizhny Novgorod province. Nearby are three Shchelkov lakes with beaches and a large Park area, where Nizhny Novgorod residents like to relax in summer.

Most of the houses, churches and outbuildings of the Museum are located on the slope of the ravine near the entrance. But you have to go to the other side of the ravine to see the large Church of the Intercession. In total, the Shchelkovsky Farm Museum has 16 buildings for various purposes.

Wooden architecture of Tomsk

Wooden architecture of Tomsk is the main travel sight of city. For centuries Tomsk was the main center of the development of Western Siberia. As Tomsk was the capital of the Siberian region, which was rich in wood, wooden houses were mainly built in the city in the period from its foundation in 1604 to the end of the 19 century.

And even when stone houses appeared on the main streets of Tomsk most of the houses still were built from wood. Eventually, there was developed a peculiar architectural style, which is often called the «Tomsk lace». The main feature of the style is wood-carved decorative elements, which were placed on the different parts of the wooden houses, including windows, walls and cornices.

Wooden architecture of Novosibirsk

Wooden architecture of Novosibirsk is very interesting travel attraction. In the oldest quarters of Novosibirsk located around the Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky there remained a number of wooden houses. They let you know how the city looked in the first years of its existence.

If you go to the north from the Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky, you will get to Communist street. It is in this street that the largest number of tenement and residential houses dating back to the beginning of the 20 century remained Nicholas Roerich Museum is also on this street. Wooden houses can be seen on Chaplygin, Gorky, Oktyabrskaya and Lenin streets.

Ethnographic village of Kostroma

20 kilometers from the Prokhorovsky field, at the source of the Psel river, is the Ethnographic village Kostroma. It is located at the foot of the chalk slope. Many springs flows down on the slope and form Psel river. That is why this ethnographic village sometimes is also called “Springs”. 

Unlike other regions of Russia, where peasant houses are made of wood, here you can see the influence of Ukrainian traditions. The houses of the Kostroma village are made of mud huts with thatched roofs. Their walls were built of wooden frames, like half-timbered houses in Europe. The gaps between the frame were filled with brushwood, straw or reeds, and then covered with clay.

Museum of wooden architecture Semenkovo

The Semenkovo Architectural and Ethnographic Museum is an interesting museum of wooden architecture of the Russian North. It is located 15 kilometers northwest of the center of Vologda. Here you can see wooden houses, churches, mills and outbuildings brought from different districts of the Vologda region. 

On the streets of the Semenkovo Museum you can see wooden houses, traditional for the Russian north. Considering the cold winters, the residential and household part was built under a single roof. Domestic animals also lived in the household part. There are two streets in the Semenkovo Museum, where wooden houses are installed. These houses are mainly brought from the eastern districts of the Vologda region, where the city of Veliky Ustyug is located. At the entrance to the Semenkovo Museum, visitors see windmill. The tall windmill of the peasant A.Durov was brought from the village of Borok in the Totemsky district of the Vologda region. Next to it you can see two grain barns.