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 religious women.
The Gediminid Knyaginya (duchess) Euphrosinia Staritskaya founded the Goritsky convent in 1544, about a decade after her marriage to one of Tsar Ivan the Great's sons (who died imprisoned after a succession rebellion in his name), and two years after the marriage of her only son, Vladimir of Staritsa. In 1563, as the Livonian war with Lithuania, Poland and Sweden led to the Oprichnina, the aristocratic widow was forced to become a nun and kept under house arrest at Goritsky, together with her daughter-in-law, Yevdokiya Staritskaya. Nonetheless, in 1569, Tsar Ivan the Terrible gave orders to drown the two nuns in the nearby Sheksna River. The policy of removing political opponents to religious foundations, common throughout Europe for decades, continued to use the Goritsky convent. In 1586 Anna Koltovskaya, Ivan the Terrible's fourth wife, might also have taken monastic vows and changed her name to Daria at Goritsky, before being transferred to the Vvedensky convent in Tikhvin. Xenia Godunova, the daughter of Tsar Boris Godunov, became the nun Olga at Goritsky circa 1606, before being transferred to the Knyaginin Convent in Vladimir and later burial with her royal family at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. The convent's most recent famous resident may have been Fool for Christ Asenatha of Goritsky, who died in 1892 (and whom Russian Orthodox faithful continue to remember on April 19).
In the 1920s, the Bolsheviks transformed the convent into an agricultural cooperative where the nuns worked and prayed. In the 1930s it was shut down, and most of the nuns executed. In the 1970s it became part of Kirillo-Belozersky museum-zapovednik of History, Art, and Architecture (based on the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery). Since the 1990s a small community of nuns started to live in the convent.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.