Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wooden Churches

There was eerie ground-level fog on the way to work this morning. It's still dark when we start out, and the fog just made everything seem mysterious and magical. If I looked close enough I know I could have seen all sorts of fairies along with Mole and Mr Toad flitting and frolicking around in the fog. Whenever it's like this it always reminds me of one of my favorite illustrators Arthur Rackham. More on him here.

Sorry. This entry was supposed to be about wood. I got sidetracked. Wood, well I love it. In particular I like wooden structures like churches. It's sort of a cognitive dissonance thing with me. I love trees, and would fight to save a tree, but I also love wood. Yeah, I know. Hypocrite!!!!

Russian and Scandinavian stave churches have always been one of my favorites types of wooden structure. Most church architecture fascinates me. Love looking at the architecture. I just don't want to go inside and listen to what's being said.

In fact most of the stave churches are found in Norway. They get their name from the load-bearing posts called stavr, which means stave in Old Norse.

I came across a website for Fort Ross. Fort Ross is a former Russian fur trading post located in what is now Sonoma County, California. Most of the buildings that are presently there are recreations of those beautiful Russian wooden chapels and other buildings, but I would still love to see them. The website has some nice images and there is more information here.

The king (IMO)of all wooden structures is located at the Kizhi Open Air Museum in Kizhi, Russia. Kizhi is an island located on Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia. This open air museum has an absolutely breathtaking array of wooden churches including the 22-domed Transfiguration Church built in 1722. Here are some panoramas of the island. Here is an entire page of images. The island in winter is particuarly beautiful. And a Wikipedia entry. And get this, these structures were built without nails or any other sort of metal ties. Incredible.

There is even a wooden church not too far from my home. It's located in Ashton, Maryland (even though I think it's listed location is Silver Spring, MD). The name of the church is the Holy Trinity Particular Ukranian Catholic Church. Trying to find a link or a decent image of this church is proving dauting. Here's a small photograph of the church. It's sort of hidden behind trees, but you get the idea. It's located on very lengthy New Hampshire Avenue. We found this section New Hampshire Avenue too not only have many churches, but also a llama farm and someone has a sheep farm. Plus, it's a really nice ride.

"I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do." Willa Cather (1873 - 1947

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