Our next stop is Kizhi Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, largely because of its two fabulous churches. The island is an open-air museum – buildings from this part of Russia have been brought here to complement the two churches which are the island’s main attractions.
The most amazing is the Church of the Transfiguration – with 22 domes. Tradition holds it was constructed without a single nail – all wood joinery – and that the unknown builder – upon completion – threw his axe into the lake with the words “There was not – and will not be – another one to match it.” It’s being laboriously restored and we could only admire it from the outside.
Next, back to the boat for a lesson from our chef in making pelmeni – ear- shaped dumplings filled with minced meat. Because they are freezable, historians have deduced their origin. In 12th century Siberia, hunters living in the rugged Ural Mountains filled their packs with frozen pel’nyan (ear bread) before an expedition. When it was time to eat, they boiled the dumplings in melted snow. Now it’s a staple of Russian cuisine.
Next – St. Petersburg!!!