Transfiguration monastery was founded in 1192 by Martiry Rushanin, who built the wooden Transfiguration Church. At the time, the area belonged to the Novgorod Republic, and the construction of the church was approved by Grigory, the Archbishop of Novgorod. In 1193, Martiry himself was promoted to be the Archbishop of Novgorod and Pskov. Presumably, the wooden church burned down, and in 1198, Martiry founded the stone Transfiguration Church, which still exists. In 1442, the church was considerably rebuilt. Between 1611 and 1615, during the Ingrian War, Staraya Russa, and the monastery in particular, were occupied by Swedish troops. The monastery was badly damaged and rebuilt subsequently in the middle of the 17th century. The Transfiguration Church was considerably altered. Some of the existing churches were constructed in the 17th century. The wall and the towers originate from the 19th century. The monastery was abolished after the 1917 October Revolution, and the buildings were badly damaged during the World War II. Most of the cell buildings were subsequently demolished.
The oldest building of the monastery is the Transfiguration Cathedral, which was founded in 1198 by Martiry and completely rebuilt in 1442, so that only the lowest parts of the walls survive from the 12th century. In the 1620s, after the Swedish occupation, is was rebuilt again, and the dome was altered, but the main features of the exterior and the interior were preserved. The cathedral was damaged during the World War II and underwent extensive restoration in the 1960s. Subsequently, it was transferred to the museum.
The Church of the Nativity of Christ was constructed around 1630. It is a small brickstone church with one dome. In 1892, it was re-consecrated and became the church of Saints Cyril and Methodius. It was also damaged in the war and restored in the 1960s. The Presentation Church, which currently hosts the art division of the museum, was built in the same period and also has one dome.
The two chapels, the Alexander Nevsky Chapel and the Saviour Chapel, as well as the Church of the Staraya Russa Icon of the Virgin, were built in the 19th century.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.