Russian North is an area comprising regions with special historical and cultural diversity due to its history. Arkhangelsk Region, Vologda Region and Kostroma Region are notable for scarcely fertile farmlands; since ancient times the local community has been able to satisfy only its own agricultural needs, and due this fact serfdom never developed here. The forests of Russian North are abundant in fur-bearing animals and rivers are abundant in fish, and this attracted the most active part of Russian population. Those were people who moved to new lands and settled down along the river-banks, gradually forming a kind of a sub-ethnic group – the coast-dwellers.
No wonder the inhabitants of Russian North not only made great progress in hunting and trapping, but also developed a unique culture with such distinctive features as wooden architecture and a special way of life. The severe Northern landscapes and the freedom-loving spirit of the Northern people determined in many ways the environment created by coast-dwellers, the style of their buildings and the choice of household articles.
In the 18th century, after Peter the 1st opened up a passageway to Europe through the Baltic Sea, the North of Russia lost its economical value considerably. As a result, this area was not as subject to various innovations as the other regions of Russia. All the original features of everyday life were preserved virtually intact – and so the area became a real reserve of the fading culture of Old Russia.
It is here that nowadays you may find the most ancient samples of the Russian wooden architecture that amaze the modern mind with the harmonicity of the architectural ideas, the intricacy of architrave woodcarving and the originality of furnishing. It is here on this ancient land that we collect our furniture, planks and house frames.
One of the most notable elements in the wooden house of the Russian North is woodcarving. Carved design that covers some ancient houses almost entirely are highly appreciated by the connoisseurs of Russian architecture and common people. People of our age may not know that carved decorations of wooden houses are not just beautiful embellishments. For person of the past these ornaments had special sacred meaning as they were ancient pagan symbols. Some of them were used to protect the houses, while the other were meant to tell the history of our ancestors. OneCONTINUE READING