The Russian Orthodox Antonievo-Siysky Monastery was founded by Saint Anthony of Siya deep in the woods, 90 km to the south of Kholmogory, in 1520. Currently the monastery is located in Kholmogorsky District of Arkhangelsk Oblast in Russia, inside the nature protected area, Siysky Zakaznik.
Following the saint's death in 1556, the monastery grew on the salt trade with Western Europe and developed into one of the foremost centres of Christianity in the Russian North. Ivan the Terrible and his son Feodor granted it important privileges and much land. By 1579, the monastery owned 50 versts of ploughlands stretching towards Kargopol.
In 1599, Boris Godunov exiled his political opponent Feodor Romanov to this remote monastery. While many of his relatives were starved to death in other cloisters, Feodor took monastic vows and was eventually raised to the dignity of hegumen (abbot) of the monastery. Later he became the Patriarch of Moscow, and his son Mikhail established the Romanov dynasty of Russian tsars.
In the 17th century, the monastery continued to prosper. The large Trinity cathedral was constructed over the years 1587–1608. The tent-like church and refectory were completed by 1644, and the belfry was added in 1652. The monastic library was one of the richest in Russia and included such books as the Siysky Gospel from 1339 and the 16th-century album of 500 Western religious etchings adapted to Eastern Orthodox canonical requirements. Its treasury was famed for its collection of medieval jewelry. In 1764, the monastery owned more than 3,300 male peasants.
In 1923, the monastery was disbanded. Both library and treasury were taken to Moscow or Arkhangelsk. The medieval buildings were used as a sanatorium and a kolkhoz. The monks were readmitted to the cloister in 1992 and immediately began emergency repair works.References:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".