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Malye Korely - the Museum of Wooden Architecture and Folk Art of the Northern Regions of Russia
February 3, 2020 16:06


The Museum of Wooden Architecture and Folk Art of the Northern Regions of Russia "Malye Korely" is located 25 km south-east of Arkhangelsk. The formation of the exposition began in 1968, and in 1973, in the vicinity of the village of the same name, on the right bank of the Northern Dvina, this unique open-air museum was opened.


120 monuments of folk wooden architecture of the XIX-early XX century are located on the territory of the museum (140 hectares). These are civil, public and church buildings. The oldest of them are the St. George Church (1672, its height with a cross is 36 m), the Ascension Church “Cubic Temple” (1669) and the bell tower from the village of Kuliga-Drakovanovo (XVI century) - the oldest wooden bell tower preserved in Russia.

The exhibits are divided into four sectors, and in each of them the appearance of the old northern settlements is recreated: Kargopol-Onega, Pinezhsky, Mezensky and Dvinsky. Churches, chapels, bell towers, peasant and merchant huts, barns, wells, hedges, seven windmills - the museum "Malye Korely" presents a very curious and very colorful exposition. The exhibition "Northern Ringing" presents ancient art of playing bells to visitors.

The museum organizes excursions, folklore groups concerts, and sell souvenirs in the souvenir shop. And on weekends there are round dances,  bells ringing,  traditional crafts demonstration, folk games, and horse rides.

How to get there

From Arkhangelsk you can go by by buses No. 104u, 104t, 108, 111 to the stop  “Malye Korely.” Departure is every 20-30 minutes from the train station, bus station and Terekhin Square.

Practical information

Museum visit center is located in Arkhangelsk: Arkhangelsk,  Chumbarov  - Luchinsky prospect, 17

Tel./fax: (8182) 20-41-64,

The central office of the museum is located at: 163000 Arkhangelsk,  I. Kronstadtsky street, 15.
The museum is located at: Malye Korely village, Pravdy street, 15. +7 (8182) 20-41-64, 65-25-35
It is open daily from October 1 to May 31, 10:00 - 18:00; and from June 1 to September 30, 10:00 to 20:00.

Entrance fees and excursions

Entrance ticket: 200 RUB on weekdays and 250 RUB on weekends; for pensioners and students: 150 RUB on weekdays and 200 RUB on weekends. Single ticket to the museum and visits to all exhibitions and expositions: 750 RUB. Tours: from 150 RUB;  all kinds of interactive tours are also held - performances with the participation of a folklore group, wedding ceremonies (from 5000 RUB), greetings with bread and salt (800 RUB) and bell ringing. Photo-, video filming in the interiors: 250 RUB. 


200 m from the entrance to the museum-reserve, the tourist complex "Malye Karely" (one letter in the name has been changed in order to avoid legal problems) is located.  Accommodation is possible in cottages or standard hotel rooms. There is a restaurant, disco, paintball,   equipment rental, bowling, billiards, bathhouse, etc.

25 kilometers from Arkhangelsk, near the village of Malye Karely, there is a museum of wooden architecture and folk art. The place was not chosen by chance -  it is one of the most picturesque in the vicinity of Arkhangelsk. The name of the village itself tells about the history of these places. In the XVII century, as a result of the Russian-Swedish war, Western Karelia was transferred to the Swedes. Tens of thousands of Orthodox Karelians were leaving their homeland and moved south-east, to the Tver province, and north, to the west coast of the White Sea and the lower reaches of the Northern Dvina. And now almost half of the Karelian people live in the Tver and Novgorod regions. Migrants who came to the lower reaches of the Dvina settled on the lands of the Lyavlensky Monastery and gave the name to two villages - Bolshaya and Malye Korely and the river Korelka. Immigrants quickly russified, and only the names of villages and rivers remind of the origin of local residents.

The initiative to create the museum belonged to the chief architect of the Arkhangelsk scientific and restoration workshop V.A. Lapin, who outlined in 1963 the program of its construction at the Ministry of Culture of the RSFSR. And on June 1, 1973 its gates were opened to the first visitors.

The museum has six sectors. Each sector is a settlement model with a typical layout for a particular area and the most typical buildings. Currently, four sectors have been formed. These are the Kargopolsko-Onega, Dvina, Pinezhsky and Mezensky sectors. They contain 120 monuments: churches, chapels, huts, barns, baths, mills, wells. The construction of two more is ahead - Vazhsky and Pomeranian.

A large team of architects, restorers and researchers worked on the creation of the museum. A continuous survey of the region was carried out to identify the most interesting monuments and study the culture of the North Russian population, as well as  collect exhibits. Researchers create hut interiors and thematic exhibitions. And although the formation of the museum has not yet been completed, it is the largest and most interesting open-air museum in Russia. It is no coincidence in 1996 by decree of President B.N. Yeltsin, it was listed as a particularly valuable object of the Russian Federation.

The museum reflects all the facets of the richest North Russian culture, and primarily peasant architecture. Russian people made a worthy contribution to the treasury of world culture, including  outstanding monuments of folk architecture. Back in the XVI-XVII centuries. foreign travelers admired the construction skills of Russian carpenters who built huts, mansions, and temples only with an  ax. At the same time, builders did not use projects and plans, relying on their own experience and samples created by predecessors. Usually temples were erected at the expense of peasant communities.   And throughout the north there were magnificent temple ensembles, organizing the space of the entire district. The names  of many creators of outstanding monuments are unknown, but their work speaks of the talent and skill of unknown Russian masters. Picturesque nature together with interesting architectural monuments have   made the museum a favorite vacation spot for Russian citizens and foreign visitors.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Arkhangelsk Arkhangelsk region Malye Korely   

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