The village and churches of Kizhi island were first mentioned in the historical chronicles about four hundred years ago. In the 16th century, the Island played an important role in the the life of local people being the administrative centre of the large Zaonezhye region, with numerous settlements on the surrounding islands as well as on the mainland. It was the land of diligent, prosperous, and religious people - fishermen, peasants, craftsmen, merchants, blacksmiths and carpenters - with their own culture, customs and traditions.
The central part of the Architectural ensemble represents the Church of the Transfiguration, the Church of the Intercession, and a belltower located between two churches.
The twenty-two-domed Church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior (built in 1714) is the key sight of the Kizhi Pogost (churchyard). It was designed and constructed as a summer cathedral: services were held there only in the summer period. Fascinating multiple cupolas of the cathedral and the mastery of its builders captivate the visitors.
Next to the Church of Transfiguration we see the Church of the Intercession. It is considered to have been built in 1764; although some historians tend to claim that this date is not quite correct. The design and plan of this Church differ from the Church of Transfiguration. But at the same time the builders succeeded in combining both churches as well as the belltower into a unique wooden ensemble.The Church of Lazarus of Murom is located nearby. It is the oldest monument of wooden architecture in Russia - the Church was built in the middle of the 14th century. This church was transferred to the island from the Murom Monastery, situated at the southern shore of Lake Onego, in 1960. In the 19th century, all the structures of the Monastery were renovated, except for the Church of Lazarus as it was regarded as a miraculous construction by the local people.
Plenty of chapels make part of the ensemble. These are the Chapel of Archangel Mikhail (17-18th centuries), the Chapel of the Assumption of Virgin Mary (17-18th centuries), the Chapel of the Divine Savior (17-18th centuries), the Chapel of Peter and Paul (17th century), and many others. Each of them has its own long-running history.
Aside from churches and chapels, old wooden households are also located on the Island. These are water- and windmills, granaries, blacksmiths, famous chimneyless bathhouses - or Russian steambaths in-black, houses of peasants who once lived in the neighborhood.
On visiting the Houses of peasants of Sergeyev, Oshevnev, Elizarov and others, a visitor can learn a lot about the life of residents of Onego Lake Region, their traditions and customs.
The museum's collection includes a lot of icons of the 18-19th centuries. Among others are the icon "The Transfiguration of Christ", "The Lives of Abraham and Sarah" and many other, including the icon of "Sts. Zosima and Savvaty of Solovki with Lives", dedicated to the founders of Solovetsky Monastery Savvaty and Zosima, who were canonized after their death. Zosima was born in the village of Tolvuya, close to Kizhi, and the local residents revered their famous fellow countryman.
Kizhi Pogost is enlisted in the UNESCO's World Heritage List.
The Kizhi Reserve Area is rich with numerous species of birds, animals and trees, which are under protection.
Boat and walking eco tours can be arranged to explore the nature.
There is an ecological trail on the very Island which goes from the boat pier to the Vernicle Chapel on Naryina Hill.
By motorboat, it is possible to visit natural sights on the islands of Bolshoy Klimenetskiy, Radkolye and Gryz.
A comprehensive tour of Karelia, including the Solovetsky Islands
Culture and Adventure Holiday in the Northern Russia
Every corner of Kizhi Island is covered on this trip
Short and easy trip to Karelia
Visit Kizhi Island in winter
Experience Russia on Moscow to St. Petersburg river cruise
Feel free to request a tailor made tour to Russia
Explore historical sights and nature attractions
1. Hydrofoil to Kizhi.
From about 20th of May till about 20th of September Petrozavodsk and the Island are connected by hydrofoils.
The distance between and Kizhi is 63 km; non-stop travel time is 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Below you can find the timetable and our comments.
Kizhi, arrival / departure
11:00 / 15:00
11:45 / 15:45
12:45 / 16:45
14:00 / 18:00
14:45 / 18:45
19:15 / 20:35*
1. Morning departure at 09:30.
This hydrofoil is operated if it has enough passengers (more than 40). It is usually known in 2-3 days advance. The best chance to join this trip is on Saturday from mid July till mid August.
2. Noon departures at 09:30, 10:15 and 11:15.
At least one of these hydrofoils is operated daily. On the weekends in the high season months July and August all departures can be operated. The most popular time is 11:30 and we recommend to plan this time for your trip.
3. Afternoon departure at 12:30, 13:15 and 18:00*.
It happens pretty seldom when this boat is actually operated.
4. *Evening departure at 18:00 is optional. This hydrofoil is used mainly by locals travelling from Petrozavodsk to the villages Sennaya Guba, Velikaya Guba and small villages around Kizhi. It is operated on Friday and Sunday.
Boat cancellation and delay notice.
In case of a heavy storm or thick fog boats between Petrozavodsk and Kizhi can be delayed or even cancelled, though it does not happen often.
Combination of different departures.
On a standard day tour, visitors use the same boat for the trip to and from Kizhi. It is possible to use different boats, for example, the boat at 09:30 for the trip to Kizhi and the boat at 17:15 for the trip back. However using this option depends on the actual hydrofoil timetable.
Guaranteed extended stay at Kizhi requires staying overnight somewhere in the area of the Island. There is a nice guesthouse just over the strait from the Island.
2. Motorboat to Kizhi.
It is possible to use private motorboats for getting to the Island. In the summer time it is usually not practical as regular hydrofoils are bigger, cheaper and more comfortable. However in late September and early October when the hydrofoil season is over travelling by a motorboat from Velikaya Guba village (north of Kizhi) can be the only reasonable option. Direct route from Petrozavodsk goes across the open lake greatly affected by winds and that is why it is not reliable.
3. Helicopter to Kizhi.
The helicopter company in Petrozavodsk owns big MI-8 helicopters for 20-22 pax which are quite expensive in operation. The cost of a charter flight to the Island is about 160000 Rubles. Flying time is about 25 minutes one way.
4. Hovercraft to Kizhi.
A hovercraft is an air-cushion vehicle able to slide over ice or water. There are several hovercrafts in Petrozavodsk. Travel time from Petrozavodsk to the Island is about 1 hour 15 minutes one way minimum (depends on ice condition).
In the cold season, hovercrafts can not ride over the big areas of the open water as the moisture gets frozen on the propeller. The Onego Lake on the direct way from Petrozavodsk to Kizhi is usually ice-free until mid December, but when the winter is warm there might be no ice until mid January. In spring, ice conditions usually allow travelling until mid April.
5. Snowmobile to Kizhi.
Safe driving on the frozen Lake depends on ice conditions. Whilst hovercrafts need at least some ice and can move over areas of open water snowmobiles require much thicker ice. February are March are the months when it is usually possible.
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