Friday, 23 December 2011

Wooden Church, Russia

My sender, Yulia, tells me this 17th Century wooden church stands in the Kargopol open-air museum.  When I looked this up I discovered that this museum (founded in 1919) was based on the private collection of Kapiton Kolpakov, someone the site described as a "local petty bourgeois", (as an old lefty I smiled at that description). Today the museum consists of 17 historic monuments from the 16th to 19th Century it also has large collections of icons, books, folk dress and art.   There are also music festivals and it is a centre for Russian chime art which here happens around a winter festival called "Crystal Ringings" based around the Christian celebration of Epiphany (6 January).  I'm not sure if chime art is the decoration or ringing of the bells or perhaps it is a combination of both.  I wonder if they ring them in this church's bell tower at any time.   The beautiful church is shown reflected in what I presume is the Onega River surrounded by the lush green of summer but must also look stunning in the snow of winter. Yulia gives the name of the church as Pokrovo Vlasyevsky  but on English language sites it is usually referred to as the Church of St John Chrysostom, the name means golden mouthed for he was reputed to be an eloquent speaker. 

The town of Kargopol near where this church is located is considered one of the treasures of the Russian north and has some remarkable architecture.  It stood on a strategic trading route along the Onega River to the White Sea so was prosperous from the 16th to 19th Century, until the coming of the railway bypassed it. Unfortunately in the Soviet era some historic church buildings were destroyed but much remains in what is now a quiet town in the north.

The card came with appropriately
a stamp from this years "Headdresses of the Russian North" and this one is from the Archangelsk province, the very location of the wooden church. This would have been worn at the end of the 19th Century.  The other stamp depicts something older a closed sleigh from Moscow in 1732 (from the 2002 Old Carriages issue).  How I would love to ride enclosed in this beautiful object through a snowy Russia, it looks so wonderfully romantic.

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