Do you like traveling? We like it very much. You can learn a lot from albums and guidebooks. But it is way better to see for yourself what you read about and dreamed of touching.
Two thousand characters are not enough even to begin telling about the Russian North. But it can be enough to kindle the desire to know more about it. It's never too late to plan a trip-immersion into its depth. Its secret is accessible to many, but was never solved by anyone.
We live in an endless flow of information, in a constant change of agenda. Many of us are tired of inside and outside noise, of constantly chasing the yesterday.
Traveling the Russian North you can finally come to a stop and start living here and now.
Often the phenomena of the Russian North become identical to what people mean by "Russian". We long for the unknown and transcendental, for amplitude and deafening silence. This longing finds solace in the forests and lakes of the limitless Northern lands.
Traveling means discovering something new. Landscapes are changing outside the window, the road flows smoothly. But suddenly the road changes and starts going up and down. Then the small wooden church appears on a hill. Such moments are always breathtaking. The church looks like part of the landscape. There is grass with bright spots of willow-herb and clover, a lake afar off, a herd of grazing cows, an even line of white birches. Everything around is calm and follows the course of time and the movement of life.
The wooden churches of the Russian North cannot be confused with any others. They became the comprehension of the surrounding environment. They seem to come from old fairy-tales illustrations by Ivan Bilibin, from childhood memories, from something forgotten. Something that you dimly feel inside but can't fully understand. This reminds of the legendary city of Kitezh, lost in the blue depth of the lakes.
Many of these churches and chapels are not used anymore. They need repair and conservation. But the liturgy hasn't stopped there. One day people will return to these churches once again.
(Photos by Dmitri Ostroumov, O. Senkova, D. Pascha, A, Molchin)