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

Beersel Castle

The moated castle at Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the 15th century. Remarkably, it was never converted into a fortified mansion. A visitor is able to experience at first-hand how it must have felt to live in a heavily fortified castle in the Middle Ages.

The castle was built in around 1420 as a means of defence on the outer reaches of Brussels. The tall, dense walls and towers were intended to hold any besiegers at bay. The moat and the marshy ground along its eastern, southern and western edges made any attack a formidable proposition. For that reason, any attackers would have chosen its weaker northern defences where the castle adjoins higher lying ground. But the castle was only taken and destroyed on one occasion in 1489, by the inhabitants of Brussels who were in rebellion against Maximilian of Austria.

After being stormed and plundered by the rebels it was partially rebuilt. The pointed roofs and stepped gables are features which have survived this period. The reconstruction explains why two periods can be identified in the fabric of the edifice, particularly on the outside.

The red Brabant sandstone surrounds of the embrasures, now more or less all bricked up, are characteristic of the 15th century. The other embrasures, edged with white sandstone, date from the end of the 15th century. They were intended for setting up the artillery fire. The merlons too are in white sandstone. The year 1617 can be clearly seen in the foundation support on the first tower. This refers to restorations carried out at the time by the Arenberg family.

Nowadays, the castle is dominated by three massive towers. The means of defence follow the classic pattern: a wide, deep moat surrounding the castle, a drawbridge, merlons on the towers, embrasures in the walls and in the towers, at more or less regular intervals, and machiolations. Circular, projecting towers ensured that attacks from the side could be thwarted. If the enemy were to penetrate the outer wall, each tower could be defended from embrasures facing onto the inner courtyard.

The second and third towers are flanked by watchtowers from which shots could be fired directly below. Between the second and third tower are two openings in the walkway on the wall. It is not clear what these were used for. Were these holes used for the disposing of rubbish, or escape routes. The windows on the exterior are narrow and low. All light entering comes from the interior. The few larger windows on the exterior date from a later period. It is most probable that the third tower - the highest - was used as a watchtower.