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Kirillo-Belozersky Historical, Architectural and Art Museum-Reserve"


Vologda Oblast
103 Gagarina str., Kirillov, Vologda region, 161100, Russia
masterpieces of ancient russian art in the walls of the largest monastery of the russian northon the shore of lake siversky there is a whole medieval town – 11 stone churches, outbuildings, walls and towers of the kirillo-belozersky monastery. today, this territory belongs to the historical, architectural and art museum-reserve, whose funds contain extensive collections of archaeological monuments, objects of decorative and applied art, graphics and paintings, books and, of course, a unique collection of icons.


The architectural complex of the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery includes the ensembles " Old Town "-the Great Assumption and Ivanovo monasteries," New Town " and the territory of the fortress Ostrog that once stood here. The monastery is surrounded by fortress walls with monumental towers.
Museum expositions of ancient Russian art, folk art, archeology, and the history of the monastery are located in the monuments of the Assumption Monastery. visitors can access collections of ancient russian painting, sewing, handwritten and old printed books, decorative and applied arts.
In two halls of the first floor of the Archimandrite's cells there is an exhibition "The World of the Old House", which presents furnishings and household items of the Kirillov Tserkovnitsky family of the 19th and 20th centuries. The State Chamber presents the exhibition "Russian Art of the 17th and 19th centuries", where you can see, in particular, icons from the iconostasis of the Church of Epiphanius of Cyprus, icons from the Church of the Transfiguration of the late 16th century, samples of bas-relief carvings of the 16th and 17th centuries.


the kirillo-belozersky monastery of the vologda diocese of the russian orthodox church is located on the shore of lake siversky in the city of kirillov, vologda region. Since the 15th century, it has remained for several centuries one of the largest monasteries in Russia, the center of the spiritual life of the Russian North.
after the revolution of 1917, the monastery was looted; the most valuable works of art were taken to the capital's museums. the building of the monastery became a temporary repository of materials of the state archive, brought from petrograd. In 1919, restoration work began. archivists, architects, and restorers repeatedly appealed to the authorities to organize a museum in kirillov, and finally, in 1924, this was done. 5 years later, the first permanent exhibition about the history of the region and the monastery was opened.
since 1930, under the pressure of the authorities, the ideological line of museum work has gradually changed. the main focus was local history, with emphasis on anti-religious and socialist propaganda. During this period, a significant number of items made of silver, icons, church fabrics, and monastic archives were seized.
In the post-war years, in the absence of staff and funding, the museum experienced difficult times. Only in the late 1950s did restoration begin, and the museum was restored to its former historical and artistic orientation. In the late 1960s, the first exposition of ancient Russian art appeared, and serious art criticism began. In 1989, the museum received the status of a museum-reserve, the architectural ensembles of the Ferapontov and Goritsky monasteries were assigned to it, and large-scale construction works were planned not only on the territory of the monuments, but also around them. In 1975, the branch of the museum in the Ferapontov Monastery became known as the Museum of Frescoes of Dionysius.
In 1991, the museum-reserve was included in the water tourist route "Moscow-St. Petersburg". Kirillov has become a business card and the most visited tourist attraction of the Vologda region. In 2000, the Dionysius Frescoes Museum was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Interesting Facts

the kirillo-belozersky monastery was founded in 1397 by the monk cyril, the most famous of the disciples and followers of sergius of radonezh. Kirill came to the shore of Lake Siversky at the age of 60 and died at the age of 90. He became famous for many miracles and was canonized shortly after his death.
The monastery once served as a place of imprisonment. The most famous prisoner of the Kirillov Monastery is the former Patriarch Nikon of Moscow, who was exiled here after the death of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. here he spent the last 5 years of his life, and died on the way to moscow.
The museum's collection includes two Dutch-made bells that belonged to the monastery and date from 1644-1646.