Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery was the most authoritative and wealthy monastery in Russia in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was founded in 1479 by Joseph Volotsky. Over the next several decades, the monastery played a key role in the political and ecclesiastic life of the 16th-century Russia. It was also a stronghold of struggle against the opponents of church landownership and heretics. Its vaults were used as a prison for dissenters. Joseph Volotsky, Metropolitan Daniel, Archbishop Feodosii, and Malyuta Skuratov are among many notables buried within monastery walls.
In the 1560s, Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery was the second largest landowner in Russia, with more than 30,000 desyatinas of arable lands in its possession. Several smaller priories, dependent on the monastery, were founded on these lands. Within the principal cloister, three ponds were kept full of fresh water. After the Assumption Cathedral was constructed in brick in 1486, the great icon-painter Dionisius was summoned to embellish its walls with frescoes. An enormous octagonal bell-tower was constructed in 9 tiers in the 1490s. At that time, it was the tallest structure in Russia. Its design heralded that of Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the Moscow Kremlin.
During the Time of Troubles, Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery was actively engaged in helping the government of Basil IV in his struggle against Ivan Bolotnikov's rebels. The Polish hetman Prince Rozynski lost his life besieging the monastery in 1611. After the siege, the monks captured a lot of Polish cannons, which were later used for festive fire works.
At the end of the 17th century, the monastery was reconstructed in the fashionable Naryshkin style. The new walls, completed by 1688, featured nine sharp-coned towers of stone. A golden-domed church was built over the main gates to the monastery in 1679. A church of similar design was added in 1682 to the spacious refectory, currently the oldest building in the complex, dating from 1504. The new Assumption Cathedral replaced the old one between 1682 and 1689. Its exterior was elaborately decorated with coloured tiles, and a marvellously carved iconostasis was installed in the interior.
After the October Revolution of 1917, Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery was turned into a museum. The Soviet authorities destroyed all the bells and took most of the icons to Moscow. During World War II, the Nazi army seriously damaged the cloister and blew up its famous bell-tower. Although the churches have been subsequently restored, the bell-tower remains a major loss sustained by Russian art during the war.References:
From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.
Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.
In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.
Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.