One Man Spent 9 Years Photographing 16th and 17th Century Wooden Russian Churches That Sit Abandoned Across The Countryside


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Categories: Inspiration

(20 Images & A Video)  Crumbling and abandoned, the last remnants of Russia's wooden churches lay dotted in the woodlands of the country's north-western corner.

Forgotten by many and in the process of being reclaimed by nature, the few remaining churches are exposed to the harsh elements without any hope of being salvaged, but one photographer is determined to capture pictures of the forgotten structures - with breathtaking results.

Preserved: This intricately designed church stands alone and forgotten under the wide blue sky

Preserved: This intricately designed church stands alone and forgotten under the wide blue sky 

Ramshackle: This church teeters on the brink of collapse, its foundations appearing to sink into the earth

Ramshackle: This church teeters on the brink of collapse, its foundations appearing to sink into the earth 

All alone: Blanketed under a thick coating of snow, this church is one of many left without care or attention

All alone: Blanketed under a thick coating of snow, this church is one of many left without care or attention 

The project has revealed the beautiful, but abandoned, wooden churches

The project has revealed the beautiful, but abandoned, wooden churches that are gradually tumbling down


Richard Davies spent nine years tracking down the lost churches, and produced a book with the stunning photographs.

Along with the photographs, there are first-hand accounts by Matilda Moreton of their project, and the insights and interpretations of writers and artists, travellers and historians, propagandists and politicians.

In his book Wooden Churches - Travelling in the Russian North, it says that the churches are the few remains of thousands that were built all over Russia from the time of Prince Vladimir, who, on his conversion to Christianity in 988 'ordained that wooden churches should be built and established where pagan idols had previously stood.'

The majority are clustered in the north-west corner, and bunched in certain areas like Leningrad, Vologda, Murmansk, and Archangel Regions and the Republic of Karelia.

These fragile, desecrated structures are on the verge of extinction, as no one has acted to care for them

These fragile, desecrated structures are on the verge of extinction, as no one has acted to care for them

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