The New Jerusalem or Novoiyerusalimsky Monastery was founded in 1656 by Patriarch Nikon as a patriarchal residence on the outskirts of Moscow. This site was chosen for its resemblance to the Holy Land. The River Istra represents the Jordan, and the buildings represent the 'sacral space' or holy places of Jerusalem. In his time, Patriarch Nikon recruited a number of monks of non-Russian origin to populate the monastery, as it was intended to represent the multinational Orthodoxy of the Heavenly Jerusalem.
The architectural ensemble of the monastery includes the Resurrection Cathedral (1656–1685), identical to a cathedral of the same name in Jerusalem, Patriarch Nikon's residence (1658), stone wall with towers (1690–1694), Church of the Holy Trinity (1686–1698), and other buildings, all of them finished with majolica and stucco moulding. Architects P.I.Zaborsky, Yakov Bukhvostov, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Matvei Kazakov, Karl Blank and others took part in the creation of this ensemble. In the 17th century, the New Jerusalem Monastery owned a large library, compiled by Nikon from manuscripts taken from other monasteries. By the time of the secularization of 1764, the monastery possessed some 13,000 peasants.
In 1918, the New Jerusalem Monastery was closed down. In 1920, a museum of history and arts and another of regional studies were established on the premises of the monastery. In 1935, the Moscow Oblast Museum of Regional Studies was opened in one of the monastic buildings. In 1941, the German army ransacked the New Jerusalem Monastery. Before their retreat they blew up its unique great belfry; the towers were demolished; the vaults of the cathedral collapsed and buried its famous iconostasis, among other treasures.
In 1959, the museum was re-opened to the public, although the bell-tower has never been rebuilt, while the interior of the cathedral is still bare. The New Jerusalem Monastery was re-established as a religious community only in the 1990s.
Today the restoration of the main cathedral is done, with much of the interior reconstructed and readorned. The monastery is open to visitors and is actively serving again.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.