S U M M A R Y
In the North-West of our country not far from Vologda
is situated a small ancient town Kirillov. There is one of
the most remarkable monuments of ancient Russian archi
tecture there — the Kirillo-Belozerski monastery.
It was founded on the territory of the Belozerski princi
pality in 1397 by Cyril, a monk of the Moscow Simonow
monastery. He arrived at these far off places not by chance.
He was charged with diplomatic mission by the Moscow
prince who strove for taking possession of important trade
routes and occupying a convenient position for the offen
sives against Novgorod.
In the 17th century the Kirillo-Belozerski monastery
was turned to a fortress. It became an important outpost at
the northern boundaries of Russia. In 1612—1613 its walls
withstood a long siege of Lithuanian, Polish and Swedish
invaders. The monastery complex was forming and develop
ing for centuries. And still, in spite of its being formed at
different periods of time it produces an impression of archi
The principal and the most ancient building of the mo
nastery, the cathedral of the Assumption (the Uspenski cathe
dral) was constructed in 1497 by Rostov architects. Notwith
standing the later alterations the church didn’t loose its
majestic and solemn look. In 1554 the chapel of Saint-Vladimir
(the Vladimirski chapel) and in the second half of the 16th
century the chapel of Saint-Cyril (the K irilb v sk i chapel,
reconstructed afterwards) w ere added to the cathedral.
In 1645 the chapel of Saint-Epiphan was bu ilt.
In the beginning of the 16th century the Refectory w ith
the church of the Presentation to the temple (the Vvedenski
church) was erected on the te rrito ry o f the monastery.
Its architecture is distinguished by the austere sim plicity
In 1531—1534 in honor o f the future tzar Ivan the Terrib le
birth tw o rich ly decorated churches — the church o f Archan
gel G abriel and the church o f Saint-John the Baptist w ere bu ilt
on the order of the Moscow prince Vasily III. By the same time
the Saint gates, the church o f Saint-John Climaqus above it
and the Treasury were erected. O f great interest is the cellar
e r’s (the manager of the monastery) house of the 17th century,
one of the smallest buildings of the monastery complex.
The existing stone walls and towers of the monastery
replaced the ancient wooden structures in the beginning
of the 16th century. In the 17th century because of the menace
of the offensive more powerful walls and towers of the so
called New town were erected.
The Kirillo-Belozerski monastery is a magnificent monu
ment of ancient culture. Just as the Novgorod cathedral of
Saint-Sophia, the Izborskaya fortress or the Kremlin in
Rostov the Great it is our national pride.