An izba (Russian: изба́, IPA: [ɪzˈba] ( )) is a traditional Russian countryside dwelling. Often a log house, it forms the living quarters of a conventional Russian farmstead. It is generally built close to the road and inside a yard, which also encloses a kitchen garden, hayshed, and barn within a simple woven stick fence. Traditional, old-style izba construction involved the use of simple tools, such as ropes, axes, knives, and spades. Nails were not generally used, as metal was relatively expensive, and neither were saws a common construction tool. It is built in the style of the timber cottages in which Russian peasants dwelt in times past. Both interior and exterior are of split pine tree trunks, the gap between is traditionally filled with river clay, not unlike the Canadian log cabin.
All of the building's components were simply cut and fitted together using a hand axe. Coins, wool, and frankincense were customarily placed beneath the corners of the house to ensure that those living there would be healthy and wealthy.
From the 15th century on, the central element of the interior of izba was the Russian oven. Outside izbas were often embellished by various special architectural features, for example the rich wood carving decoration of windows. Such decorative elements and the use of the Russian oven are still commonly found in many modern Russian countryside houses, even though only the older wooden houses are called izbas today.
Izba is also the Bulgarian and Croatian word for cellar, as in wine cellar or a basement used for storing foodstuffs treated to last a long time in general. In several other Slavic languages, izba is a generic term for a room inside a house (the term is used specifically for habitable rooms).
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