Kizhi and Petrozavodsk
Trip Start Jun 05, 2007
17Trip End Aug 01, 2007
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I decided to take a trip to Kizhi, an island on Lake Onega (the second largest lake in Europe), about 450km northeast of St. Petersburg, known for am impressive collection of wooden churches and houses made without the use of nails. I was originally planning to go with a friend, but the timing didn't work out, so I decided to just go on my own. Tuesday morning, I bought overnight train tickets to/from Petrozavodsk, a city on the shores of Lake Onega. From Petrozavodsk, you catch a 1.25 hour ferry ride to the actual island of Kizhi.
I took the train later that night, again in a kupe compartment. There was only one other guy, probably in his 50s, in my compartment
Since the price of admission to the Kizhi Museum-Reserve for a foreigner was more than 5 times the price for a Russian (95 v. 500 rubles, or $3.50 v. $19), I decided to try my luck as a Russian. I almost inaudibly muttered "One" under my breath as I handed the cashier a 100 ruble bill and it worked out! The place itself is pretty amazing, especially the first complex of two churches (Transfiguration Church and Church of the Intercession) and a belltower. It's really amazing that these two churches were constructed without using a single nail. I'll post some pictures along with this entry (the only problem was the weather -- no sun all day). Some of the old wooden buildings were actually built on Kizhi (like the two churches mentioned above) while others were transported there from around the region. In one of the other smaller churches, a guy was giving a concert every once in a while playing the church bells. Again, this whole thing was somewhat similar to what I saw at Taltsy and also outside of Ulan-Ude
After walking around for a couple of hours, I still had some time left, so I left the southern part of the island where most of the tourists stay and walked up a bit to the middle, where there is a village called Yamka. It seemed to be a mix of an actual village where people live along with some other old wooden buildings transported from other places in the region. I saw a lady washing her dishes, etc. in the lake (which definitely is not nearly as clear as Baikal). Oh, there are also supposedly poisonous snakes on the island, which they warn you about after you buy your ticket, but luckily I didn't run into any.
After taking the ferry back, I got some lunch and walked around for a bit. Petrozavodsk is OK, nothing too special, but there is a nice waterfront area along the lake. The weather wasn't great either, as it was drizzling for a while. So here I am in an internet cafe, my train doesn't leave until 11pm tonight and I get back to St. Pete before 8am tomorrow. I can't believe that I fly home in a week, the time has gone by so quickly!