District of Kirillov
Here, in the District of Kirillov one can step back in time to an era that exemplified grace and tranquility where many Russian sanctuaries and sacred places are preserved in their original appearance. The points of interest historically are Kirillo-Belozersky and Ferapontov monasteries which date back to the 14th century.
Founded in 1397, the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery is one of the most beautiful ensembles of Russian architecture. Its founder is St. Kirill of Beloozero, the disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh.
The monastery astounds everybody by the enormous size of its fortified walls and towers. The architectural monuments laid out and built in the traditions of early Russian architecture are mainly productions of the 15th-17th centuries. Among the structures that merit special attention are the Cathedral of the Assumption (1497), the Church of the Archangel Gabriel with an attached bell-tower and the refectory. Their distinctive traits lie in the simplicity and accuracy of the external decor.
The ensemble of the Ferapontov Monastery founded by Ferapont in 1398 consists of 6 brick buildings of the 15-17th centuries surrounded by a brick wall of the 19-20th centuries. It is unique in its beauty, authenticity and the harmony of architectural details of different centuries. The idea of the ensemble is the depiction of the images of God through architecture and painting.
Lots of people travel to Ferapontovo to worship the relics of Saint Martinian and the memory of Saint Ferapont as well as to admire the old architecture and wall painting of the Nativity Cathedral. All the interior walls are covered with invaluable frescoes by the great medieval painter Dionisy and date back to 1502.
The cathedral's wall painting that numbers almost 300 compositions and characters covers almost all the surface of the walls, vaults, pillars (except for the eastern pillars behind the iconostasis and the altar wall), window and door soffits and the central part of the western wall above the door and the bottom part of the southern wall above the tomb of St. Martinian outside.
The Ferapontov Monastery is considered to be one of the purest examples of Russian medieval art, a reason given by UNESCO for its inscription on the World Heritage List.
The Goritsy Nunnery is one of the remarkable convents situated near Kirillov. It is 7 km off the city on the bank of the Sheksna river at the foot of the Maura hill. It appears that the Goritsy Convent of the Resurrection was founded by the Moscow princely family in 1544.
The Cathedral of the Resurrection set up by princess Ephrosiniya is a monumental and stately structure. This building is quite characteristic of its era: northern embroidery on the walls, ceramic balusters and bays, cupolas and altar apses. The external decor of the cathedral is rather austere and laconic.