3. Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye
The “White Column,” as it is sometimes called, in Kolomenskoye also departs from Orthodox forms, but unlike the Dubrovitsy church, this one became a new standard-bearer of architectural possibilities. It was built by Russian royalty in 1532 as a lavish declaration of the birth of a new prince, Ivan. This toddler would go on to become Ivan the Terrible, conqueror of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia. In 1994, UNESCO put this church on the list of its World Heritage Sites, calling it “unsurpassed in its marvelous beauty and elegance of form.”
4. Church of the Transfiguration at Kizhi Island
This is Russia’s most breathtaking wooden church. Construction began in 1714, and the 37-meter-high structure is built entirely of wood, without the use of nails. Its pine and spruce domes cascade in four directions like a pyramid of gargantuan Russian dolls. Its home is Kizhi Island, one of over 1,600 islands found in Lake Onego in the Russian north.