St. Petersburg is called a second capital of Russia. This magnificent city has several other informal names that reveal travelers’ admiration and a passion for visiting it. The Cultural Capital, the Northern Capital, the Venice of the North, the Northern Palmyra, Peter’s City, the City of White Nights, the City on the Neva River – all this is said about brilliant St. Petersburg. The city is recognized as one of the largest economic, cultural and scientific centers of Russia, Europe and the whole world. The city of Saint Peter was founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and was set to be the “window to Europe”. Today the city combines Russian and European cultures and traditions in the most extraordinary way. Just 10 years after the city was founded, St. Petersburg became Russia’s new capital city in 1712. The city would remain the country’s capital for the next 200 years. It was only during the Revolution of 1917, when the country started to cut itself off from its imperial history, that Moscow regained its title as Russia’s capital city. St. Petersburg is one of the most visited cities in Russia, attracting tourists for many reasons. Some come for the architecture, some for the history and others to experience the rich culture.
Kizhi is an island in the Lake of Onega with homonymous pogost located on this island. The Russian word “pogost” defines a territorial district with a single or several villages that has a church and a graveyard. The word was borrowed by several neighboring nations, like Latvians and Finns. The architectural ensemble of the Kizhi Pogost includes two 18th century wooden churches: the Church of the Transfiguration – the one with 22 onion domes – and the Church of the Intercession, and an octagonal wooden bell tower built in 1862 considerably reconstructed in 1874. Original the Kizhi churches burned down after being struck by lightning in 1693 and the currently existing churches were built on the very site of the former ones. Kizhi is evidence of the highly developed carpentry skills of the Russian people. Nowadays it is the only ensemble with two multi-domed wooden churches preserved in Russia. The Church of the Transfiguration is a monument with exceptional architectural and structural features. It has no parallel in either Russian or global wooden architecture. Local legend says that Master Nestor built the 37m high nail-less church, a true wonder of the world, using nothing but an axe.