The 2nd international course on Wooden architecture conservation and restoration is currently taking place at the Open Air Museum on Kizhi Island, located in the Republic of Karelia, Russian Federation. Fifteen participants from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Finland, India, Japan, New Zealand, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Spain, Slovenia and Turkey are learning about traditional wood technology from Karelia and the northern Baltic region, and sharing their own experience and knowledge. The course includes a dense schedule combining lectures and practical exercises in this exceptional setting known for its rich wooden cultural heritage.
At the World Heritage Site "Kizhi Pogost", the participants got acquainted with the complex restoration project of the Church of the Transfiguration, having the chance to see the final stage of the restoration work with their own eyes. They climbed to the very top of the central dome of the Church. By the time the third ICCROM course begins two years from now, the Church of the Transfiguration will be completely restored and opened to visitors.
The Church of the Intersession will be the next object of the precise and serious attention of the restorers. The course participants had a chance to take part in the discussion regarding the various options of the restoration project, and at the end of the second course week, participants made a preliminary condition assessment of the Church of the Intercession, which they presented to the group and to Russian conservation professionals who have studied and been involved with conservation at the site for many years.
The course is a part of a transnational project "Ethno-architecture of Fennoscandia in the 21st century" within CBC (cross-border collaboration) Programme "Karelia". The project is financed by the European Union, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Finland.
Two books, which were just published as part of the project, were given to every participant of the course, as well as a copy for the ICCROM Library: “Restoration of historical wooden elements. Guidelines” and “The mystery of carpentry. Graphic album on wooden architecture”. The author of both books is Andrey Kovalchuk, a recognized wooden architecture restorer, head of the Restoration Complex of the Kizhi museum. Participants were able to interact with the author, as he was also involved in the course, giving lectures and conducting practical exercises on restoration and carpentry technologies.
In their free time, the course participants had a chance to get acquainted with the other aspects of the traditional culture of the Zaonezhie region: its music and cooking, and they visited the most secret part of the museum – its depositories of wooden and metal items.
During the last week of the course, participants will take part in practical exercises on wood work technology, as well as specific preventive and conservation measures.