The Ferapontov convent is considered one of the purest examples of Russian medieval art, a reason given by UNESCO for its inscription on the World Heritage List.

The monastery was founded by Saint Ferapont in 1398 in the inhospitable Russian North, to the east from the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, named after his fellow monk, Saint Kirill of Beloozero. The fame of the monastery started to spread under Kirill's disciple, Saint Martinian, who was to become a father superior of the Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra in 1447.

Even after Martinian's death, his monastery was protected and favoured by members of Ivan III's family. The most ancient structure, the Cathedral of Nativity of the Virgin (1490), was built in brick by the masters of Rostov. This edifice is the best preserved of three sister cathedrals erected in the 1490s in the Russian North. All the interior walls are covered with invaluable frescoes by the great medieval painter Dionisius. This is the last surviving Russian medieval church with fully painted walls.

During the 1530s, they added a treasury, a refectory, and the unique Annunciation church surmounted by a belfry. At that time the monastery enjoyed special privileges conferred upon it by Ivan the Terrible, and possessed some 60 villages in the vicinity. The tsar himself frequently visited the monastery as a pilgrim.

In the Time of Troubles, the monastery was ravaged by the Poles. During its recovery the last buildings — the tent-like church of Saint Martinian (1641), a two-tented barbican church (1650), and a bell-tower (1680) — were added to the complex. The belfry clocks (1638) are said to be the oldest in Russia.

As the monastery gradually lost its religious importance, it was being turned into a place of exile for distinguished clerics, such as the Patriarch Nikon. It was abolished by Emperor Paul in 1798, reinstituted as a convent in 1904, closed by the Bolsheviks twenty years later, and turned into a museum in 1975. The museum constitutes a part of the Russky Sever (Russian North) National Park since 1991.

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Founded: 1398
Category: Religious sites in Russia

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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Марина Тур (9 months ago)
Прекрасно сохранившиеся фрески Дионисия. Очень интересный и душевный рассказ о них экскурсовода Алены Гудковой. Очаровательная местность.
Dimitry Gromov (12 months ago)
Historical architectural monument of the 14th century. The monastery itself is rather small. From what is proposed to see these are the unique frescoes of Dionysius, a student of A. Rublev. The only drawback I find is that free access to cultural heritage is limited. In addition to the paid entrance, you still have to wait for a rather long time, since they are allowed to enter only according to the established in-order schedule: about 1 time per hour. If you are not in the official time, you will wait! Access closes at 18:00. At this time, you can walk around the monastery, visit the souvenir shops. Prices are expensive! On the plus side, there is a stunning view of the monastery located in the center of Ferapontovo. And also of amazing beauty the purest lake Svir. There is a good descent to the water from the monastery. A small beach is equipped. In good weather, you can swim.
Татьяна Сергеевна Могильникова (12 months ago)
HOLY PLACES - Grace is directly felt here. The area is very interesting. The frescoes of Dionysius are a must see. Everything inside is modern. There are many ancient objects and icons in the temples. It is very interesting to talk about how the painting of the cathedral by Dionysius took place and how it was restored in Soviet times - this is just very exciting. But if you are hoping to have a snack somewhere near the monastery, I will disappoint you. There are no cafes here and only a couple of local shops. It was also interesting to visit the craft workshop. I recommend to everyone.
Dmitry Kartus (12 months ago)
Real gem with Dionisius' frescoes
Екатерина Д. (12 months ago)
There is no monastery as such - museums and a non-museum operating church with the miraculous icon of the Mother of God from Athos. This is where the church shop is: second floor, striking antique floor, bumpy from a very old age. All this is in a small compact territory of an ancient monastery. There are 4 separate museums with a separate small fee each. Photographing 200 rubles, but not very picky. Dionysius is great.
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