Monasteries in 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

Mirozhsky Monastery

Mirozhsky Monastery is a 12th century Russian Orthodox monastery complex famous for its frescoes. It is located in The Christ's Transfiguration Cathedral. The name of the monastery is derived from the name of the Mirozha River, since the monastery is located at the place where the Mirozha joins the Velikaya River, on the left bank of the Velikaya. The catholicon of the monastery is one of the two pre-Mongol buildings whic ...
Founded: 12th century | 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

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

Alexandrov Kremlin

The tsar’s residence in the Alexandrovskaya village (also known as the Alexandrovsky Kremlin) is an old Russian fortress which served as the actual capital of the oprichnina (the period of Russian history between 1565 and 1572 during which Tsar Ivan the Terrible instituted a domestic policy of secret police, massrepressions, public executions, and confiscation of land from Russian aristocrats) in the Moscow state fr ...
Founded: 1565 | Location: Aleksandrov, Russia

Nilov Monastery

Stolobny Island is the home of Nilov Monastery, which was founded by Saint Nilus in 1594, and previously welcomed up to 40,000 pilgrims each year. Most of the buildings of the monastery were built in the 18th and 19th Centuries in a neoclassical style. Today the monastery complex remains one of the most impressive ensembles of Neoclassical architecture in Eastern Europe. Some of its churches date back to the 17th century ...
Founded: 1594 | Location: Ostashkov, Russia

Antonievo-Siysky Monastery

The Russian Orthodox Antonievo-Siysky Monastery was founded by Saint Anthony of Siya deep in the woods, 90 km to the south of Kholmogory, in 1520. Currently the monastery is located in Kholmogorsky District of Arkhangelsk Oblast in Russia, inside the nature protected area, Siysky Zakaznik. Following the saint"s death in 1556, the monastery grew on the salt trade with Western Europe and developed into one of the for ...
Founded: 1520 | Location: Arkhangelsk, 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

Yelizarov Convent

Yelizarov or Yeleazarov Convent is a small convent founded as a monastery in 1447 by a local peasant named Eleazar. He constructed the wooden church of Three Holy Fathers, wherein he was interred upon his death on 15 May 1481. Eleazar was canonized at the Stoglavy Sobor in 1551. In the mid-16th century, the monastery was heavily fortified and attained a position of great importance and celebrity, owing to its learned heg ...
Founded: 1447 | Location: Pskov, 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

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 ...
Founded: 1192 | Location: Velikiy Novgorod, Russia

Ferapontov Monastery

The Ferapontov convent is considered one of the purest examples of Russian medieval art, a reason given by UNESCO for its inscription on the World Heritage List. The monastery was founded by Saint Ferapont in 1398 in the inhospitable Russian North, to the east from the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, named after his fellow monk, Saint Kirill of Beloozero. The fame of the monastery started to spread under Kirill"s disc ...
Founded: 1398 | Location: Vologodskaya oblast, 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

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

Troitse-Gledensky Monastery

Troitse-Gledensky Monastery is located at the place where previously a fortress of Gleden was built in the end of the 12th century by Vsevolod the Big Nest, the Grand Prince of Vladimir. Gleden was the predecessor of Veliky Ustyug and was destroyed in the 15th century during wars between Russian princes. The early history of the monastery is not well documented, however, it is assumed that the monastery was founded at the ...
Founded: 1492 | Location: Velikiy Ustyug, 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

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

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

Pavlo-Obnorsky Monastery

Pavlo-Obnorsky Monastery was founded by Pavel of Obnora in 1414. In the 17th century, this was one of the most influential monasteries in Russia. The monastery was abolished in 1924 and reestablished in 1994. As of 2011, it was one of the four acting monasteries in Vologda Oblast. The monastery was founded by Pavel of Obnora. Pavel was looking for a remote place, and the area in the 15th century was covered by dense fore ...
Founded: 1414 | Location: Vologodskaya oblast, Russia

Kozheozersky Monastery

The Kozheozersky Monastery is a Russian Orthodox monastery founded by Niphont of Kozheozero and Serapion of Kozheozero in 1550s. It is one of the most remote monasteries in Russia; there are no roads leading to Kozhozero, and the only way to get to the monastery is 30 kilometres by foot. In 16th century the valley of the Onega River was already populated, and the ascetic monks were looking for remote places to get away f ...
Founded: 1550s | Location: Onezhsky, Russia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.