Pskov-Caves Monastery or Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery is a Russian Orthodox male monastery. It was founded in the mid-15th century, when the first hermits settled in local caves. The first cave Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos was built in 1473 (its modern facade was constructed in the 18th century).
After the monastery had been destroyed by the Livonian feudals, it was rebuilt by a Pskovian Mikhail Munekhin-Misyur in 1519. A posad (settlement) was built next to the monastery, which would later grow into a town. In 1550s-1560s, Pskovo-Pechorsky Monastery and its posad were surrounded by a wall with towers (eventually, these fortifications were rebuilt in 1701).
The monastery became an important outpost for defending the western border of Russia. In 1581–1582, it withstood the siege laid by Stefan Batory’s army. In 1611–1616, the monastery repelled the attack of the Polish army led by Jan Karol Chodkiewicz and Aleksander Józef Lisowski and Swedish army led by Gustav II Adolf.
Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery lost its importance after the Great Northern War of 1700–1721. In 1920–1944, Pskovo-Pechorsky Monastery belonged to Estonia. The monastery was one of the few acting male monasteries in the USSR, having been saved from destruction by Pechory being Estonian territory before World War II. In Soviet times, famous Russian mystic Sampson Sievers briefly lived and served in the monastery.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union the monastery has flourished. Currently the monastic community numbers over 90 who through their pastoral labors live the tradition of asceticism and eldership as witnessed recently by the Archimandrite John (Krestiankin). In 2013 the monastery marks the 540th anniversary of its existence.
Pskov-Caves Monastery is one of the rare Russian monasteries that hasn't been closed in any moment of its history even during World War II and Soviet regime. The monastery was in the centre of a controversy in 1995, when the leader of a Russian crime group was buried in the monastery caves, alongside the resting places of saintly monks.References:
Dunluce Castle is a ruined medieval castle located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim, and is accessible via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood.
In the 13th century, Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, built the first castle at Dunluce. The earliest features of the castle are two large drum towers about 9 metres in diameter on the eastern side, both relics of a stronghold built here by the McQuillans after they became lords of the Route.
The McQuillans were the Lords of Route from the late 13th century until they were displaced by the MacDonnell after losing two major battles against them during the mid- and late-16th century.
Later Dunluce Castle became the home of the chief of the Clan MacDonnell of Antrim and the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg from Scotland.
In 1588 the Girona, a galleass from the Spanish Armada, was wrecked in a storm on the rocks nearby. The cannons from the ship were installed in the gatehouses and the rest of the cargo sold, the funds being used to restore the castle.
Dunluce Castle served as the seat of the Earl of Antrim until the impoverishment of the MacDonnells in 1690, following the Battle of the Boyne. Since that time, the castle has deteriorated and parts were scavenged to serve as materials for nearby buildings.