Monasteries in Russia

Krestny Monastery

In 1632 the future Patriarch Nikon attempted to escape from the Solovki to the Kozheozero Monastery in the south. As Nikon later recalled, a tempest broke out and his life was at peril. The monk began to pray to the holy cross and soon his boat was cast a shore on Kiy Island, where he erected a wooden cross to thank heaven. Twenty years later, he went from Novgorod to the Solovki in order to bring the relics of Metropoli ...
Founded: 1656 | Location: Kiy Island, 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

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

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

Transfiguration Monastery

Transfiguration monastery was founded in 1192 by Martiry Rushanin, who built the wooden Transfiguration Church. At the time, the area belonged to the Novgorod Republic, and the construction of the church was approved by Grigory, the Archbishop of Novgorod. In 1193, Martiry himself was promoted to be the Archbishop of Novgorod and Pskov. Presumably, the wooden church burned down, and in 1198, Martiry founded the stone Tran ...
Founded: 1192 | Location: Staraja Russa, 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

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

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.