Monasteries in Russia

Vysotsky Monastery

Vysotsky Monastery is a walled Russian Orthodox monastery founded in the 1370s by Vladimir the Bold. It served for a long time as a border fortress defending the southern approaches to Moscow from the Tatars. The first hegumen, Afanasy the Elder, was a disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh, whose successor, St. Nikon of Radonezh, is believed to have been tonsured a monk in this monastery. After the Russo–Crimean War ...
Founded: 1370s | Location: Serpukhov, Russia

Luzhetsky Monastery

Luzhetsky Monastery is a medieval fortified monastery in Mozhaysk founded in 1408 by Therapont of Belozersk. Therapont founded Ferapontov Monastery in 1398, located in the Principality of Beloozero, which at the time was administered jointly with the Principality of Mozhaysk. The prince, Andrey of Mozhaysk, resided in Mozhaysk, and was a brother of Vasily, the Grand Prince of Moscow. He was also one of the main sponsors ...
Founded: 1408 | Location: Mozhaysk, Russia

Goritsky Monastery

The Goritsky Monastery of Resurrection is a Russian Orthodox female monastery in the village of Goritsy. Since the 1970s, the Kirillo-Belozerksy museum-zapovednik of History, Art, and Architecture has operated parts of the Goritsky complex. Parts of Goritsky convent were reopened for religious purposes two decades later, and as of 2011 Goritsky was one of the four acting monasteries in Vologda Oblast, and the only one for ...
Founded: 1544 | Location: Vologodskaya oblast, Russia

Konevsky Monastery

In the Middle Ages, the island of Konevets (Konevitsa or Kononsaari in Finnish) was considered holy by the Finnish tribes who particularly revered a huge boulder in the shape of a horse's skull, weighing more than 750 tons. This boulder is known as Kon’-Kamen’ (literally, "Steed-Stone") and gives its name to the island. The Konevsky monastery was founded around 1393 by St. Arseny Konevsky, who wished to conve ...
Founded: ca. 1393 | Location: Ostrov Konevits, Russia

Alexander-Svirsky Monastery

Alexander-Svirsky Monastery is a Russian Orthodox monastery situated deep in the woods of the Leningrad Oblast, just south from its border with the Republic of Karelia. The golden age of this cloister was in the 17th century. It was founded in 1487, when a monk of the Valaam Monastery, named Alexander, settled between Roschinsky and Holy lakes, 20 km to the east from Lake Ladoga and 6 km from the Svir River. During his l ...
Founded: 1487 | Location: Leningradskaya oblast, Russia

Pechersky Ascension Monastery

Pechersky Voznesensky Monastery is usually said to have been founded ca. 1328-1330 by St. Dionysius, who came to Nizhny Novgorod from Kiev Pechersk Lavra (i.e., Kiev Monastery of the Caves, pechery meaning 'caves') with several other monks, and dug for himself a cave on the step Volga shore some 3 km southeast of the city. Later on, he founded at that site a monastery with a church of Resurrection of the Lord. The monast ...
Founded: 1328-1330 | Location: Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia

Valday Iversky Monastery

Valday Iversky Monastery was founded by Patriarch Nikon in 1653. In the 17th century, the Valday Iversky Monastery was one of the most influential monasteries in Russia and a significant cultural center. By the autumn of 1653, two wooden churches were in use. Nikon also ordered to transfer the relic of Saint Iosif of Borovichi to the monastery, which was done in February, 1654. In the same year, all lands around Lake Vald ...
Founded: 1653 | Location: Valdayskiy, Russia

Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery

Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery was the most authoritative and wealthy monastery in Russia in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was founded in 1479 by Joseph Volotsky. Over the next several decades, the monastery played a key role in the political and ecclesiastic life of the 16th-century Russia. It was also a stronghold of struggle against the opponents of church landownership and heretics. Its vaults were used as a prison ...
Founded: 1479 | Location: Teryaevo, Russia

Kizhi Pogost

Kizhi Pogost is a historical site dating from the 17th century on Kizhi island. The pogost is the area inside a fence which includes two large wooden churches (the 22-dome Transfiguration Church and the 9-dome Intercession Church) and a bell-tower. The pogost is famous for its beauty and longevity, despite that it is built exclusively of wood. In 1990, it was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites and in 1993 ...
Founded: 1714 | Location: Kizhi, Russia

Ivanovsky Monastery

The Convent of Nativity of Saint John the Baptist is a former Russian Orthodox nunnery in Pskov. It is notable for the katholikon, one of Russia's oldest churches, dating from the first half of the 12th century. The church is located at the city center, on the left bank of the Velikaya River, in the Zavelichye quarter. It currently belongs to Krypetsky Monastery. It is the second oldest building in Pskov after the katholi ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pskov, Russia

Theophany Convent

Bogoyavlensky Convent is one of the most populous Russian Orthodox convents. It is situated in Kostroma and is known as the location of the ancient Feodorovskaya Icon of God"s Mother. The convent was founded in the 15th century by Nikita, a disciple and a relative of St Sergius of Radonezh. The five-domed katholikon of traditional Byzantine design was constructed under Ivan the Terrible, starting in 1559. The Tsar accuse ...
Founded: 1559-1565 | Location: Kostroma, Russia

Vyazhishchsky Monastery

The Nikolo-Vyazhishchskii Stavropegial Women's Monastery was founded in by the monks Efrosiny, Ignaty, and Galaktion and the hieromonk Pimen at the end of the 14th century (a charter from 1391 mentions it), with Pimen becoming the first hegumen of the monastery. It was first mentioned in the chronicle under the year 1411. The monastery was patronized by Archbishop Evfimy II (r. 1429-1458), who was hegumen of the monastery ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Novgorodskaya oblast, Russia

Antoniev Monastery

The Antoniev Monastery rivalled the Yuriev Monastery as the most important monastery of medieval Novgorod the Great. It stands along the right bank of the Volkhov River north of the city centre and forms part of the Historic Monuments of Novgorod and Surroundings, a World Heritage Site. The monastery was founded in 1117 by St. Anthony of Rome (Antony Rimlyanin), who, according to legend, flew to Novgorod from Rome on a r ...
Founded: 1117 | Location: Veliky Novgorod, Russia

Khutyn Monastery

Khutyn Monastery of Saviour's Transfiguration and of St. Varlaam used to be the holiest monastery of the medieval Novgorod Republic. The cloister was founded in 1192 by the monastery's first hegumen, the former Novgorodian boyar Oleksa Mikhailovich, whose monastic name was Varlaam. The main church of the monastery was consecrated by Archbishop Gavril of Novgorod the following year, the same year Varlaam died. He is buried ...
Founded: 1192 | Location: Velikiy Novgorod, Russia

Zverin Monastery

The Zverin Monastery is one of the oldest Russian monasteries, founded not later than the 12th century. It was first mentioned in the chronicles as a female monastery in 1148. By that time, the monastery already existed, and the wooden Intercession Church was destroyed by lightning. The name of the monastery, which derives from the Russian wordзверь - a mammal - originates from Zverinets, a wooden area where the mona ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Veliky Novgorod, Russia

Krypetsky Monastery

Krypetsky Monastery is a Russian Orthodox monastery founded in 1485 by St. Savva Krypetsky, a Serbian monk from Mount Athos. Two years later, the Pskov veche supported his establishment by granting a large plot of land to the monks. Prince Obolensky had a road for pilgrims built through the mire to the monastery. St. Savva died on 28 August 1495 and was interred in the then timber cathedral, which was rebuilt in stone in ...
Founded: 1485 | Location: Pskov, Russia

Kamenny Monastery

Kamenny Monastery is situated on a small eponymous island in the very centre of the Kubensky Lake. It is distinguished as the first stone monastery of the Russian North. Kamenny Island (literally, 'Stony Island') is very small, measuring just 120 metres by 70 metres. It is so named after stony ramparts set up by the monks around the island"s perimeter in order to preclude its erosion. The lake is known for ...
Founded: c. 1260 | Location: Vologodskaya oblast, Russia

Pechenga Monastery

The Pechenga (Petsamo) Monastery was for many centuries the northernmost monastery in the world. It was founded in 1533 at the influx of the Pechenga River into the Barents Sea, 135 km west of modern Murmansk, by St. Tryphon, a monk from Novgorod. Inspired by the model of the Solovki Monastery, Tryphon wished to convert the local Skolts to Christianity and to demonstrate how faith could flourish in the most inhospitable ...
Founded: 1533 | Location: Pechenga, Russia

Arkazhsky Monastery

The Arkazhy Monastery was one of the most important monasteries of medieval Novgorod Republic. All that remains of it today is the Church of the Assumption of the Mother of God, which is visible on the road out to the Yuriev Monastery. The foundations of the medieval monastery were excavated by Soviet archaeologists in 1961. The monastery was founded by and takes its name from Arkadii, who founded it in 1153 prior to his ...
Founded: 1153 | Location: Pankovka, Russia

Kizichesky Monastery

Kizichesky Vvedensky Monastery is a small male monastery in Kazan. It was founded in 1691 by Adrian—the Moscow Patriarch, who until 1690 were the Kazan Bishop. The name Kazichesky means Holy Martyrs of Cyzicus. The monastery was devoted to the martyrs because parts of their relics were brought to the monastery—according to the wishes of Adrian. In the 1690s Vvedensky Cathedral and Vladimirskaya Church were bui ...
Founded: 1691 | Location: Kazan, Russia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.