Deep Russia. Wooden houses.

Well, today a little bit of Russian architecture… but no! Don’t panic (yet)! It will be nearly painless… Unfortunately I’m not an expert on Russian classical wooden architecture, actually, unfortunately I’m not an expert on anything but explaining bad jokes in a horrible way… but at least I’m proud there’s one thing I’m good at 😉  So that, today I’ll try to explain some of the things I saw in my last trip to Russia.

The rural countryside wooden houses were mainly built in 17th and 18th century. The russian term used to describe them is “izbá” (изба). This kind of architecture is famous for not using any metallic tool to join and hold the wooden trunks, but only fitting them together.

These houses normally have one floor, but can also have an attic or even a whole second floor, as shown in the pictures. Wealthy people who could afford it, used the lower floor as a work place and as a dormitory for thir skilled workers. The upper one was used as a living place by the landlords. The facade is usually painted and decorated with wooden sanefas.

The house main parts are:

  • Porog (порог). It is the elevation that elevates the entrance to the house and prevents the snow to enter inside the house.
  • Seni (сени). It is the non-heated entry room to the house. Is used as a storage room and it’s function is to keep the heat inside the house.
  • The main room. It normally had a chimney, which was used to heat the room. People used to sleep on the chimney (in the rear), as it was the warmest place in all the house.  Another important element is the “beautiful corner” or the “red corner” (Красный угол). It was the corner used to place the icons and were the dining table was placed.

The pictures in the slideshow were taken in the Suzdal museum and in Pokhvistnevo rural part of the city.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another interesting thing is this video (not mine): a couple of musicians singing traditional songs and playing “gusli”  (гусли).

Detailed information on the Construction of Russian Wooden Buildings of the 17th – 18th Centuries in this [PDF] by Аlexandr Popov.


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