The window cases of Ryazan’,

Russian wooden carving is a unique national art.  Dating back to the earliest Slavic times, it’s one-of-a-kind, and it’s very fragile.  Among its many kinds the NALICHNIKI (or window cases) stand out in particular.  Originally, the carved decorations were meant to protect the house from evil spirits that could come from the outside through doors and windos, so these entring frontiers were lavishly decorated with strong pagan protective symbols.  With centuries they have evolved in elaborate designs, absolutely unique for every region.

Ivan Hafizov, a Russian photographer, set up a virtual museum of nalichniki from all over Russia. He has traveled around the old towns and villages, taking pictures of the most typical examples of local window cases on traditional wooden houses.  He’s got collections from hundreds of Russian cities. You can visit his FB page  as well as the virtual museum  and enjoy beautiful puzzle-like pictures.  The website is in English and Russian.