Situated at the centre of Lake Onega, the almost mythical island of Kizhi is a famous UNESCO World Heritage site.
Its role as a spiritual centre dates back to about the 12th century, when its remote location made it an ideal 'parish' for some of the ambitious Russian colonists. Very few traces of the original wooden structures remain; but through the centuries the island's reputation had spread.
By the 18th century a number of the wooden churches that can still be seen today had been constructed - and these have made Kizhi a truly unmissable site today.
The churches and other religious buildings have been complemented in more recent years by secular wooden structures from around Russia, and as a result the island is now the centrepiece of the Kizhi Museum-Reserve.
There are many impressive highlights to be found on the island, but the true standout is the magnificent Church of the Transfiguration, built in 1714. Its 23 domes all rest on a pine frame, and the ornate structure is made entirely of wood but without a single nail. It utilises a number of gables and inventive decorations to keep water from its walls, and should really not be missed.