All Monasteries of Pereslavl-Zalesski
Looking down from a gentle hill, reflecting in the waters of Lake Pleshcheyevo, stand Goritsky Assumption Monastery. It appeared there in the 14th century and was named after its location,
“Goritsky” (on the mountain). Originally it did not last long. It was destroyed by the army of Khan Tokhtamysh. But in the 17th – 18th centuries the Monastery was revive. According to the legend, the revival was helped by the Princess Eudoxia, the wife of Dmitry Donskoy, who was miraculously saved within the monastery walls from Tatar raids. The monastery soon became the center of the large diocese, which included more than 600 churches and monasteries. It was the place of active construction - majestic temples and cathedrals were erected there. The monastery was often visited by tsars and their families, which resulted in the abundance of royal gifts. The main temple of Goritsky Monastery is the Cathedral of the Assumption. It was laid in the middle of the 18th century. Even today it amazes tourists with its solemnity and beauty. The building is surrounded by covered galleries with arched openings. The church is crowned by the powerful five domes. The façades of the temple are painted not white, but pale pink. The roofs of the domes are green. The whole church is decorated with snow-white stucco in the Baroque style. The interior of the temple is rich too; its interior was created by the best masters.
Don’t forget to visit the bell tower of the Epiphany Church. This tall 4-level structure is crowned with an elegant red dome placed on the patterned drum. The lower tier has a small church. The real masterpiece of architecture of the 17th century is the gate in the eastern wall. It is rather low and fulfilled mostly economic function, but its elegant decor certainly attracts attention. The Holy Gate and the gateway St. Nicholas Church combine the two styles: ornament and Moscow baroque. The lower tier with the wide arch was built in the middle of the 17th century and richly decorated with the details of figure bricks.
Today the monastery houses Pereslavl History and Art Museum. The museum collection includes tens of thousands of items, a huge library with rare books and letters, lifetime editions of great Russian writers. More than half of the museum’s territory is occupied by the art gallery showing the paintings by Russian artists.
Not far from the Goritsky Monastery is located another famous monastery of Pereslavl, Danilov Monastery, which was founded in the early 16th century. The monastery is situated in a quiet picturesque place with particularly clean air. Once, there was the cemetery, where the monk Daniil used to work. Having foretold Vasili III the birth of a son, Daniil became the abbot of the monastery, which the tsar founded there. Daniil used was also the godfather of the newborn Ivan the Terrible. The main building of the monastery, the Trinity Cathedral, was built in 1532. There is a chapel with the relics of Daniil. The Cathedral is decorated with the monumental painting of the 17th century. The masters, who built the cathedral, made him look both graceful and majestic. The Cathedral is crowned with a massive head set on the wide and tall light drum. In 1689 the Cathedral received the tent bell tower. Very attractive is its tent dome with carved arches. Standing out of the other structures is the Church of All Saints and the refectory of Praise for the Mother of God.
All the buildings of the monastery are arranged in a single complex, which rises above the wooden buildings of the former monastic settlement. Now, the monastery is fully functioning.
The holy abode has historical significance for the city. According to historical records, in 1304 on the day of St. Fyuodor (Theodore) Stratidat, this place was the scene of the bloody battle between the forces of Moscow and Tver princes. To commemorate the victory of Moscow, the Prince founded the monastery there.
The oldest building of the monastery, Fyodorovsky Cathedral, was built in 1557 with the funds donated by Tsar Ivan the Terrible to mark the birth of his son Fyodor. This massive brick building has five domes resting on wide powerful light drums. In 1886, the cathedral was encircled from three sides with a stylized gallery. Inside it, some murals have survived. Another structure of the monastery attracting with its original beauty is Refectory Vvedenskaya church, adorned the center of the green dome on a slender drum.
Outside the city, on the elevated bank of Lake Pleshcheyevo is located the ancient Nikitsky Monastery. It was founded in the early 12th century and was named in the honor of Pereslavl miracle-worker Nikita the Stylites. In his early days he was known as a scrooge, a profligate and a drunkard. But one day his eyes were opened and he went to the monastery, where he was granted the gift of healing. Many people, including the well-known ones, were cured by Nikita. He was killed by the infuriated people.
In the center of the architectural complex is the 5- domed Nikitsky cathedral built by the order of Ivan the Terrible in 1564. At the same time Nikitsky Monastery was encircled with the stone ramparts and battle towers. During the Great Troubles in the early 17th century Nikitsky monastery-fortress could withstand the attacks of foreign invaders. Peter I used to stay in Nikitsky monastery during his visits to Pereslavl. The white-stone cathedral is very impressive. It is crowned by six huge silver helmet domes. To the south of the temple there is the Church of the Annunciation with the refectory and the bell tower. The white tower deserves special attention as the original example of Russian architecture. Since 1993 Nikolsky Monastery has been active.
The monastery consecrated in the name of St. Nicholas was founded in the middle of the 14th century. The monastery, possessing a vast treasure, was many times destroyed and rebuilt. It is also famous for the beauty of its buildings. St. Nicholas Cathedral built in the 18th century is the supreme creation of the architects of the time. Not like other Russian churches, the cathedral has the pyramidal shape. The central peak is crowned with the gold head, on the sides there are smaller heads, two per each side. Of all the oldest temples of the monastery only two have survived - the gateway Peter and Paul Church and the Annunciation Refectory Church. The gateway Church of St. Peter and Paul (mid-18th century) built in Baroque style has reached us in its original form. The elongated dome topped by a tall narrow drum with a small gilded cupola make the church slim and tall. The Annunciation Church (1748) with a low refectory was also built in the Baroque style. Its roof, similar to the dome of Peter and Paul Church, is rather tall and supports a high narrow drum topped with a small cupola.