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The Beautiful Wooden Churches of North Russia

These beautiful but depleted, centuries old wooden churches were captured through the lenses by Richard Davies. Richard was inspired by the works of Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1876 - 1942) a well known artist, stage designer and illustrator of Russian Folk Tales, who drew attention to the condition of the wooden churches through a series of photographs published in a 1904 article in the World of Art Magazine.

Seeing these beautiful postcards inspired Richard to travel to the Russian North in 2002 to find out which churches had survived. Further trips have followed every year. Many churches have been lost: some have been left to rot; some have been destroyed by lightning; countless others by ignorance, spite and neglect. One church was hit by a reversing tractor - it tumbled like a pack of cards.

“There is however much to celebrate.”, Richard writes. “Although the churches that remain are in varying states of decay and despite their neglect and the wrecking of their interiors, these extraordinary structures have a spiritual presence which commands respect even in the absence of their gilded icons.”

Richard Davies now holds exhibition to help raise public awareness of the plight of these wonderful buildings, and encourage restoration work on them.

1_Verkhniaya_Uftiuga_Aug02

Verkhniaya Uftiuga, Arkhangel region, Church of St Demetrius of Thessalonica (1784)

1d_Verkhniaya_Uftiuga_Feb07

3_Permogorye_Aug02

Permogorye, Arkhangel region, Church of St George (1665)

6_Samino_Aug02

Samino Pogost, Arkhangel region, Church of The Prophet Elijah (1692 -1702)

8a_Kizhi_Aug02

Kizhi, Karelia, Church of the Transfiguration (1714)

9b_Kondopoga_Aug06

9c_Kondopoga_Aug06 

Kondopoga, Karelia, Church of the Assumption (1774)

12_Kokkoila_Aug03

Kokkoila, Karelia region, Chapel of St Barbara (early 18th C)

15a_Kosmozero_Aug06

Kosmozero, Karelia region, Church of St Alexander Svirsky (1769)

16_Polya_Aug06

Polya, Karelia region, Church of the Prophet Elijah (18th C)

18_Yandomozero_Aug03

18d_Yandomozero_Aug06

Yandomozero, Karelia region, Church of St Barbara the Martyr (1650)

19_Ust_Yandoma_Aug03

Ust'Yandoma, Karelia region, Chapel of St George (17 - 18th C)

21_Kovda_Aug03

Kovda, Murmansk region, Church of St Nicholas (1651)

23_Liadiny_Aug03

Liadiny, Arkhangel region, St Blaise's Church of the Intercession (1761)

24_Krasnaya_Liaga_Mar06

Krasnaya Liaga, Arkhangel region, Church of St Michael (1655)

26a_Oshvenskoye_Mar06

Oshenvenskoye, Arkhangel region, Church of the Epiphany (1787)

31_Izma_Aug04

Izma, Arkhangel region, Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour (1679)

35_Bukhalovo_Aug04 

Bukhalovo, Arkhangel region, Chapel of Saint Nicholas (19th C)

43_Podporozhye_Mar05

Podporozhye, Arkhangel region, Church of St Vladimir (1757)

45_Rakuly_Mar05

Rakuly, Arkhangel region, Church of the Resurrection (1766)

52_Sheliki_Aug07

Sheleiki, Leningrad region, Church of Dmitri the Miracle Worker (1783)

41a_Tulgas_Aug09

Tulgas, Arkhangel region, Church of St Blaise (18th C)

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