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:
Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.
Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.
In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.
In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.
Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.