Valday Iversky Monastery was founded by Patriarch Nikon in 1653. In the 17th century, the Valday Iversky Monastery was one of the most influential monasteries in Russia and a significant cultural center. By the autumn of 1653, two wooden churches were in use. Nikon also ordered to transfer the relic of Saint Iosif of Borovichi to the monastery, which was done in February, 1654. In the same year, all lands around Lake Valdayskoye, including the selos of Valday, Borovichi, and Vyshny Volochyok, were declared the property of the monastery. The monastery became one of the biggest landowners in Russia.
In 1655, all monks from the former Orsha Kutein Monastery, located in the area of the present-day Belarus, moved to the Valday Iversky Monastery. One monk, Dionisy, was appointed a hegumen. This move was related to a difficult situation of the Orthodox Church in Poland.In the second half of the 17th century, the monastery became a center of culture and education. In particular, the monastery started to print books, the second such institution in Russia after the Moscow Print Yard. Production of porcelain tiles, the first one in Russia, started in the monastery. In 1656, the first stone church was completed. Nikon, as well as a number of metropolitans, personally attended the sanctification. For this occasion, a copy of the icon of Theotocos Iverskaya was made and placed in the monastery. Simultaneously, Nikon issued a prohibition to make further copies of the icon.
In 1666, Nikon was deposed, and all monasteries he supervised, including the Iversky monastery, were abolished. However, already in 1668 the monastery was re-established, and the former monks, including the hegumen, Filofey, returned.
In the 18th century, the monastery slowly declined. Between 1712 and 1730, it was subordinated to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, located in Saint Petersburg. Much of the treasure kept in the Valday Iversky Monastery was transferred to the Lavra. An attempt to revive the former importance of the monastery was made in the 1850s. After the October Revolution, the monastery was first transformed into a labour cooperative in 1919, and in 1927, it was abolished. The monastery buildings housed a museum, a workshop, a hospital, a retirement home, and a recreation facility. The icon of the Theotocos Iverskaya disappeared in 1927 and was never recovered.
In 1991, the monastery was reopened. In the Peter and Paul Cathedral in Valday, a copy of the icon of the Theotocos Iverskaya, dating from 1854, survived. This copy was transferred to the monastery and remains there.
The construction of the monastery started in the 1650s. The oldest stone church built in the monastery (1656), the Assumption Cathedral, remains intact. Much of the ensemble of the monastery was created in the 1670s by a local architect, Afanasy Fomin. From this period, the Cathedral of the Epiphany, the Church of Archangel Michael, the St. Michael Tower, and the hegumen's chamber remain. The walls and the remaining towers were built at later periods.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.