The site

Kenozero National Park was established in 1991. It is situated in the south-west of the Arkhangelsk region. Since 2004, Kenozero National Park is a part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

The specific mission of the Kenozero National Park consists in preservation, exploration and promotion of the tangible and intangible natural and cultural heritage of Russian North.

When Kenozero National Park had been established most of monuments were in a poor condition. It took years and years to change situation. Kenozero National Park is the only Protected Area of Russia which owns architectural monuments, including masterpieces of wooden architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries – ten churches and a bell tower, thirty three wooden chapels and two water mills.

Kenozero National Park is known throughout Russia due to the high preservation of painted “heavens” in churches and chapels. These are unique patterns of monumental painting kept here as a collection which does not have any analogues in the world. Kenozero National Park has the biggest collection of this special type of heritage in Russia – seventeen “heavens”.

Kenozero National Park has a long tradition in working with volunteers. Since 2012, volunteers were supporting the preservation and restoration of the heritage sites as well as the maintenance of chapels and churches located in Kenozero National Park.


The project

The project will focus on conservation and restoration works at the chapel of St. Apostle John the Evangelist from the 18th century and a water mill from the late 19th century both located in Zekhnova village.


The chapel of St. Apostle John the Evangelist which is located in the centre of Zekhnova village has been mentioned for the first time in 1846, but it dates originally back to the 18th century - the exact date of its foundation is uncertain.

In 1982, a volunteer student’s team called “atheists” performed series of accident-prevention and conservation works in the region, among them also at the chapel of St. Apostle John the Evangelist. In 1998 and 1999, a team of Russian and Norwegian carpenters restored the chapel using a dedicated lifting technology. In 2008, a team of local carpenters performed a series of restoration works on the bell tower and the roofing.

Nevertheless, there are still interventions needed in order to preserve the chapel. In particular, during the project following works are planned: corrective actions at the bell tower and at the porch, a partial replacement of the roof construction, the dome-drum and supporting beams as well as a partial replacement of the wooden shingles.


The water mill in Zekhnova village exists since 19th century. But already at the beginning of the 20th century there was no miller in the village – every family grinded grain in turn. To provide the necessary water flow, a channel of 390 meters length was trenched.

By the end of the 40ies, local carpenters restored the watermill, but at the end of the 70ies it was abandoned. The restoration of the mill began in 2004 and was finished in 2008, but the water channel is still in poor condition. During the project the channel will be deconstructed, damaged logs will be replaced by new logs, the necessary treatment measures will be undertaken and the channel reconstructed.

During the project, volunteers will have the opportunity to obtain knowledge about using traditional carpentry tools and to learn basic techniques of working with axes. They will learn ways of marking and replacing logs as well as other wood processing technologies. In addition, volunteers will understand how water mills work and will have the chance to see the construction from inside.

The program will be completed by excursions.


The project will take place from August, 4th, to August, 16th, 2019 and is organized by Kenozero National Park, in partnership with European Heritage Volunteers.