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 katholikon of the Mirozhsky Monastery and was designated an architectural monument of federal significance.
The construction date of the katholikon is traditionally estimated as the beginning of the 1140s. The studies of local Pskov architect, Sergey Mikhaylov, performed between 1970 and 1980, suggested the dates between 1124 and 1127. The Ivanovsky monastery was first mentioned in 1243. It was founded by Princess Efrosinya, the wife of Prince Yaroslav Vladimirovich of Pskov, who became a nun in the monastery. In 1243, she died and was buried in the cathedral. Later, a number of Pskov princesses also became nuns, and they were buried in the cathedral as well.
In 1615, during the Swedish siege of Pskov, the monastery was occupied by the Swedish army, and the katholikon was severely damaged. The monastery was closed in 1925. The building was subsequently used as a garage, a storage room, and a museum. In 1944, during World War II, there was a fire in the cathedral. In 1949-1959 it was restored. In 1991, the Cathedral of Nativity of Saint John the Baptist was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church, and in 2007, it was transferred to the Krypetsky Monastery.
Unlike many other churches in Pskov, the Ivanovsky katholikon is made of limestone, with some additions of plinthite. It has three apses and three domes, and its architecture is close to that of the katholikons in Antoniev Monastery and Yuriev Monastery in Novgorod. Originally, the interior was covered by frescoes, but almost all of the frescoes were lost. There is a belfry, built in the 16th century and adjoining the southwestern corner of the church.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.