District of Kirillov


Kirillo-Belozersky monastery

Ferapontov monastery

Ferapontov monastery

Goritsy Nunnery

Kirillov is a provincial town 129 km off Vologda. It appeared as a settlement attached to the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery founded in 1397 and called after the name of monk Kirill Belozersky. Kirillov is an administrative centre of Kirillov District of the Vologda region now.

Every year a great number of visitors flock to the city to admire the majestic architectural ensemble of Kirillo-Belozersky monastery, one of the largest in Russia. Tourists are also drawn in the same numbers to the Ferapont Monastery. The Kirillo - Belozersky Monastery and the Ferapont Monastery won an international renown owing to the effect of stateliness and an artistic work of exceptional value. Laid out and built in the traditions of early Russian design, they are preserved as monuments of church architecture.

You may want to pass round the monastery along the perimeter. The length of the walls is about 2 km. Less than two centuries after Kirill's death a small wooden cloister was turned into a marvellous masonry town. Now the Kirillo-Belozersky 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 a bell-tower and a refectory. Their distinctive traits lie in the simplicity and accuracy of the external décor.

The museum of icons located in the monastery is a really impressive collection. The iconostasis of the Cathedral of the Assumption, in its modern construction, has been preserved to our days. It is a unique fact in the history of the Russian art. In the museum there are several icons belonging to the brush of Dionisius from the Ferapont monastery.

Besides the icons of the museum, works of "silver" embroidery are worth seeing. An extensive library of the monastery has been preserved to our days. In the 15th-17th centuries it was one of the largest in Ancient Rus. By data of the 17th century it contained 1879 books.

The Ferapont monastery is situated 19 km off Kirillov. It is not so large as the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery. Nevertheless it attracts the ever-increasing number of tourists owing to an artistic work of exceptional value - frescoes belonging to Dionisius. The genius of medieval Russian art decorated the Church of the Nativity in 1500-1501. His cycle of frescoes devoted to the Virgin remains a unique monument of medieval painting having national as well as European importance. The frescoes were included by the UNESCO on the World Heritage list.

The National Park "Russian North" established on March 20, 1992 is also one of the main attractions of the Kirillov District. The general area of the park is 166,4 thousand hectares. The National Park "Russian North" offers a unique opportunity to have a rest in an ecologically-friendly region, discover out-of-the-way places and feel the pure pleasures of the great outdoors. The park contains an abundance of wilderness, wildlife and beauty. It abounds with rare varieties of plant life and birds. Such diverse flora of the region can be explained by a number of reasons: the location, suitable relief and fertile soil.

Several finely-crafted travel itineraries are arranged in the park. At present the experts are creating innovative itineraries - water and cross country skiing travels on Lake Vozhe, Borodaevskoye Lake, the Slavyanka and Itkla Rivers.

The Goritsy Nunnery, one of the remarkable convents, remains active. 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 Nunnery was founded by the Moscow princely family in 1544, namely by princess Ephrosiniya Staritskaya. Paradoxically the cloister turned out to be Ephrosiniya's place of imprisonment. In 1563 Ivan the Terrible exposed the Princess and her son "as liars". She was forced to take the veil and was exiled known by the name of Evdokiya.

Every year Russian and foreign tourists making boat tours flood to Kirillov to admire its sights. The Severodvinsk water way founded in 1828 passes near the city. The network of rivers and channels makes getting to and around Kirillov easy. The channel allows vessels to pass from the Volga basin through the Sheksna river into the Sukhona river and then through the Northern Dvina to Arkhangelsk.

Kirillov's chief landmarks will captivate you and make a fascinating atmosphere for a journey.

Department of Tourism and Handicrafts:

Kirillov, phone/fax: (817-57) 3-13-17, 3-15-39

e-mail: kirillovtour@vologda.ru