Ilinskaya Church, Church of St. Elijah the Prophet, Church of the Transfiguration (Kashin)
1 Sotsialisticheskaya Street, Kashin.
The Church of St. Elijah (the Transfiguration Church) is the oldest parish church with five domes. It was built from 1775 to 1778. However, a wooden Transfiguration church with St. Elijah's side chapel was mentioned in the census book of 1709.
Double dedication was explained by two side chapels. They predetermined two-storey structure of the Church, which now raises its domes above a high abrupt bank of the Kashinka River. The building is perfect in size as regards the surrounding landscape and river area.
St. Elijah's Church is an interesting monument that is very close to Old Russian architecture. At the same time, its shapes show methods and features that were used by local architects of the 18th century. A very high and narrow quadrangle is crowned with elegant, as if chiselled domes upon thin drums. It has only two axes of light in the southern and northern facades (Kashin parish churches did not have openings in their western walls).
Windows are shifted eastward, so that more light fell on the iconostasis. Vertical mass dynamics, which is intensified by pyramidal arrangement of the domes, growing bell tower tiers, and a rising spire, is softened by three developed horizontal belts and massive elliptic apse.
The slim bell tower, which was reconstructed from 1983 to 1986, rose above a two-tiered forechurch. The forechurch adjoined a small refectory, which featured only two windows and was crossed with a trough vault. The bell tower was destroyed in the 1930s.
The building is mostly peculiar for its richly decorated facades. Decorative motifs go back to the 17th-century architecture. Only rusticated pilaster strips are borrowed from the 18th-century early Baroque. However, these elements can be seen in small modules of brickwork only.
Traditional brick decor could be modified in different ways thanks to its flexibility and randomness. Being laid in the wall, bricks seemed to come out of the construction. Fractional, prominent patterns were made up of different modules including shaped and ordinary bricks, which were laid by one or another side, and ceramic figured details.
Making the outer walls a canvas for brick ornaments, builders of the Church showed their subtle compositional flair. Active, while precisely balanced decoration does not disturb the building's architectonics. The lower floor is separated by a rich border that encircles all parts of the building. The border consists of a complex cornice, an inclined drain, a curb, and rods.
Two belts of vertical cylindrical blocks (gorodki) gird the quadrangle. One of the belts separates the double-height unheated part of the Church and creates an illusion of a three-level building. While the other one meets the vault base, which is partially hidden by decorative partitions with treble semi-circle kokoshnik niches.
Smart frames of the openings visually enlarge the size of the windows and enhance them in the composition. The sides of the window frames sport single decorative elements, including paired rail posts, jugs (kubyshka), and base mouldings. However, every tier is topped differently. The first tier features an elevated pointed fronton with a double-sided festoon. Above the windows of the lower tier of the unheated part, there are segmental niches, which imitate archivolt arches, while the upper tier windows feature double kokoshniks with keel-shaped heights. The kokoshniks overlap the festoon and break the single horizontal line. Hardly visible shift of vertical axes and living patterns of the details indicate the stability of old, pre-classicism architectural skills.
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