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Russia's holy wood

Ancient Russian architecture through a British photographer’s lens

Economically poor, but culturally rich, that’s Richard Davies’s image  of Russia’s contemporary north.  He is an architectural photographer from London who takes a fascinating and thought-provoking journey to the shores of the White Sea to explore the region’s famous wooden churches.

Once inside any one of these ancient buildings, the magnificent interiors become apparent and it’s not so hard to see that they were built to glorify God. They are the product of true craftsmanship, each individual piece of wood was painstakingly shaped and prepared, it’s said that no nails were used to build these churches. This is why the local people see the wooden structures as “treasures” that must be preserved.

Against the backdrop of Russia’s spectacular landscapes, nature and villages,  Richard explains why he is convinced that the architecture in this far-flung region is so distinctive and unique.


Trekking through challenging terrain, the photographer explores this rural backwater and discovers that the architecture is filled with a keen sense of life and faith in God. An insight into how religion in Russia developed under the influence of diverse political regimes. A chance to experience the charm and mystery of these wooden places of worship.