Lake Onega, located in northwest Russia, has more than 1600 islands. One of them, Kizhi Island, is home to a historic site containing three world-famous works of wooden architecture, each a remarkable feat of engineering.
The island’s Kizhi Pogost (pogost means enclosed cemetery) contains two adjoining churches and an octagonal bell tower. Each seems to glimmer silver in the sun, but no metal was used.
The 120-foot-high Church of the Transfiguration is the island’s largest structure, crowned with 22 domes, while the smaller Church of the Intercession stands 105 feet and has nine domes. Both were built in the 18th century; the 98-foot bell tower, erected in 1862, was a later addition. All were constructed without nails or steel reinforcement, as by tradition Russian carpenters of the era only used wooden logs with interlocking corners.
Learn more about Kizhi Pogost—which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 and is now an open-air museum—by watching the Great Big Story video below.