Monasteries in 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 mona ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Novgorodskaya oblast, 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

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

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

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

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

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.