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Vitoslavitsy Open Air Museum of Wooden Architecture

In the open field between the Yuriev Monastery and Novgorod, is the location where the Vitoslavlitsy village once stood. Once dotted with life and monasteries, the area lies silent amongst the rivers, streams, meadows and lakes that lured the villagers to this area. The village of Vitoslavlitsy and most of the monasteries might be gone, but the countryside has been decorated with the Vitoslavitsy Open Air Museum of Wooden Architecture, keeping the memory of the past alive.

The Vitoslavitsy Open Air Museum of Wooden Architecture was established in 1960, and is a magnificent window into the history of architecture in Russia and the breathtaking structures that they were able to create from wood. Old wooden structures from all over the region were collected and brought to the museum for much needed restoration and repair work. The site has become such a great attraction that there is a city bus that will drop visitors off right at the front gate. Even locals bring their friends and visitors to the Open Air Museum of Wooden Architecture to share the history of Russia and the beauty of the carefully crafted structures.

An authentically dressed tour guide will take visitors on a magical tour of all the structures, starting with the peasant houses that line the main street of the museum, complete with wrought-iron torch stands, vegetable gardens, spinning wheels and other fascinating artifacts. Visitors will find the tours to be very informative, as the guide explains the use of each recognizable and generally unknown item. Photos are permitted and guides are only too happy to pose for visitors. There is also a two storey house at the Open Air Museum of Wooden Architecture that was constructed for Countess A. Orlova-Chesmenskaya, but is now used as the Folk Art of the Novgorod Region exhibit.

Other interesting buildings and wooden architectural structures include the Church of St. Nicholas, which was constructed in 1688 and brought to the museum from Tukhol Village, the Church of Assuption that once stood proudly in Kuritsk and was built in 1595, the 1767 Church of Nicola, and the Church of the Virgin’s Nativity, which dates back to 1531. In total, there are twenty-two architectural monuments on the thirty hectare land, but plans have been made to move more structures to the museum. Each structure is a symbol of the financial, traditional and status period of the time, with many of the buildings clearly showing adjustments that were made to protect against the elements of nature.

Festivals are held at the Vitoslavitsy Open Air Museum of Wooden Architecture during the year, bringing song, dance, games and music to this breathtaking landscape. Birch-bark items and many other handcrafted art works can be bought as souvenirs at the museum or during the festivals, making this attraction even more memorable than it already is.


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