Troitse-Gledensky Monastery is located at the place where previously a fortress of Gleden was built in the end of the 12th century by Vsevolod the Big Nest, the Grand Prince of Vladimir. Gleden was the predecessor of Veliky Ustyug and was destroyed in the 15th century during wars between Russian princes. The early history of the monastery is not well documented, however, it is assumed that the monastery was founded at the same time as the fortress, but survived the civil war of the 15th century. Troitse-Gledensky monastery was first mentioned in 1492. By 1725, the monastery has 24 monks and 176 priests and deacons. By the same year, it owned 60 villages with the total population of about 1000.
In the beginning of the 19th century, the monastery lost any significance, and there were two to four monks living there. The monastery was abolished in 1841, re-established in 1912 as a female monastery and in 1918 transformed into an agricultural commune. The commune was a compromise between the authorities, trying to eradicate any religious movements, and the nuns, who wished to preserve the same way of living they had in the monastery. In 1925, the commune was abolished, since it was judged by the authorities to display too much of the religious fever. The monastery was eventually used as a junior correction establishment, as a center for force resettlement, and as a retirement home. In 1980s, the former monastery buildings were transferred to the Veliky Ustyug Museum.
The architectural ensemble of the monastery originates from 17th and 18th centuries. This is the time when in and around Veliky Ustyug the stone building, churches in the first instance, started to replace the wooden buildings. Almost all the buildings of the monastery preserve the original exterior and interior.
The main church of the monastery is the Trinity Cathedral build as a cube and containing five domes. The Trinity cathedral was the first stone building of the monastery. The construction was initiated by Rostov Metropolitan Iona Sysoyevich, and the cathedral was concecrated in 1707. Mikhaylo-Arkhangelsky Monastery in Veliky Ustyug was used as a prototype for the cathedral. Inside, the cathedral contains a five-row iconostasis carved between 1776 and 1784 by local artists, brothers Nikolay Bogdanov and Timofey Bogdanov. The icons were also painted locally. Next to the cathedral, there is a tented roof bell-tower, built simultaneously with the cathedral.
Another church in the monastery is the Church of the Tikhvin Icon of the Virgin (1729-1740). There is also a wall (1770s) with towers and gates. One of the gates is the Assumption Church.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.