The Spaso-Prilutsky Monastery was founded by Dmitry Prilutsky, formerly a hegumen of the Nikolsky Monastery in Pereslavl-Zalessky. Dmitry left Pereslavl since he thought it was too crowded, and moved north. He first decided to settle down on the Obnora River, currently in Gryazovetsky District of Vologda Oblast, but he was not accepted warmly by the local population, and he moved further north. At the currentl location of the monastery, which was at the time relatively far from the city of Vologda, he built a wooden church and the cells.
The end of the 14th century was the time of rapid expansion of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, and Dmitry Donskoy, the prince of Moscow, considered it very important as an influence point of the Moscow State in the north. The princes of Moscow and later tsars belonged to the main benefactors of the monastery. Vasily III visited the monastery personally in 1528, when he and his wife, Elena Glinskaya, childless for a long time, made a pilgrimage to a number of Russian monasteries in hope to get a child. (The child who was eventually born was Ivan the Terrible).
In August 1924, the monastery was abolished. The buildings were subsequently used for a variety of purposes, including living quarters, a prison, a depot, and a museum. All the buildings consisting the ensemble of the monastery were preserved though. In 1991, the monastery was re-established. The selo of Priluki, where the monastery was located, in 1993 was included into the city of Vologda.
The monastery is built as a fortress, has an approximately rectangular shape, and is completely surrounded by a wall, which has four corner towers and three gates. The northern wall has the main gate and the gate Resurrection Church, the western wall has a gate leading to the Vologda River, and the southern wall has the third gate which is now defunct. The wall was completed in 1656. The construction started after the monastery was plundered by Polish armies in the Time of Troubles.
The main cathedral, located in the center of the monastery, is the Saint Saviour Cathedral, built in 1537-1542. It was the first stone building in Vologda. The bell-tower was built between 1639 and 1654. In 1811, the cathedral burnt down and was only restored in 1813-1817. In the meanwhile, during the French invasion of Russia, the Napoleon army occupied Moscow, and some of the treasures belonging to the church were speedily evacuated from Moscow. They were kept in Spaso-Prilutsky Monastery, in the cathedral which at the time was still not restored. The cathedral is connected to a set of buildings, including the Presentation Church, built before 1623.
The Church of All Saints was built in 1721, and the Church of Saint Catherine originates from 1830.
In 1962, the wooden Assumption Church, which was formerly located in the Alexandro-Kushtsky Monastery close to the selo of Ustye, was transferred to the Spaso-Prilutsky Monastery. This is one of the earliest surviving wooden buildings in Russia.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.