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Wooden churches on island Kizhi on lake Onega, Russia. Source: Mikhail Markovskiy / Adobe Stock.

The Incredible Russian Churches Built without Nails (Video)

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Standing proudly on a small Russian island is are two remarkable churches that defy conventional construction techniques. This centuries-old architectural marvel, nestled on Kizhi Island, boasts two wooden churches and an octagonal bell tower, embodying the essence of 18th century Russian design. Notably, the Church of the Transfiguration, the island's grand centerpiece, commands attention with its awe-inspiring presence. Rising 120 feet high and adorned with 22 domes, the church's glistening facade radiates when illuminated by sunlight. Craftsmen of the era adhered to a distinctive practice: eschewing nails or steel reinforcements, they relied solely on interlocking wooden logs to ensure the church's stability.

This tradition granted the edifice remarkable longevity, surviving until the 19th century, when meticulous restoration efforts breathed life back into its timeworn splendor. In recognition of its historical significance, Kizhi Island earned a coveted spot on UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1990. Today, the island stands as a revered open-air museum, embodying a bygone era's architectural ingenuity. Perhaps apocryphal, yet intriguing, a legend whispers that upon completing the structure, the lead builder ceremoniously cast his ax into the waters, proclaiming it matchless and eternal.

Top image: Wooden churches on island Kizhi on lake Onega, Russia. Source: Mikhail Markovskiy / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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