Religion

Sviyazhsk Bogoroditse-Uspensky Monastery

The outstanding historical and architectural treasure of the Republic of Tatarstan as well as the whole of Russia lies in the southwestern part of Sviyazhsk. This area contains an architectural ensemble of buildings of years gone by, for example the Nikolskaya Church built by the artel of Pskov masters led by Ivan Shirya between 1555-1556 which is a rare type of bell-tower church, 43 metres high. Another is the the single domed Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary where the 1,080 square metres of colourful ancient fresco wall paintings from the second half of the 16th century have almost entirely survived. The most significant of these frescoes is the only image of Tsar Ivan the Terrible made during his lifetime surrounded by boyars and voivodes in the altar area of St Christopher which is also the only surviving fresco in the world, where the saint, according to the apocryphal version, is depicted featuring a dog’s head. Out of the residential and commercial buildings in the area, the Archimandrite Corps of the 17th century, the fraternal building of the 18th century, and the buildings of the monastery school of the 18th century among others have also all been carefully preserved.

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Historical reference

The Sviyazhsk Bogoroditse-Uspensky Monastery was founded in 1555 by Archimandrite Herman - a descendant of Smolensk princes, member of the Joseph-Volokolamsky monastery and spiritual friend of the first archbishop of the Kazan Guria. He became the first abbot of the monastery. The monastery was originally created as a missionary and educational centre of Kazan. In the first years of its existence, the Pskov masters erected stone churches. The well-known Russian architects Postnik Yakovlev and Ivan Shiryai supervised their construction.

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