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Ferapontov Monastery (Ферапонтов монастырь)

Image of Ferapontov Monastery



Location: Vologda Oblast     Map

Founded: 1398 by Saint Ferapont


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Description of the Ferapontov Monastery

Ferapontov Monastery (in Cyrillic Russian: Ферапонтов монастырь), in the Óblast (region) of Vologda, is considered as one of the most beautiful examples of Russian medieval art and architecture, which is why it is on the Heritage list of Humanity of Unesco.

Ferapontov Monastery founded in 1398 east of the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, named after St. Cyril of Belozero. The monastery began to be known under the disciple of Cyril, St. Marciniano, who will become abbot of the monastery of the Trinity and of Saint Sergey in 1447.


This Orthodox monastery was protected and favored by the members of the family of Ivan III. The oldest building, the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin (1490) was built by the masters of Rostov. This is the best preserved building of the three cathedrals built in the 1490s in northern Russia. All the interior walls are covered with frescoes painted by Dionisios.

In the 1530s a treasury, a refectory, and the church of the Annunciation were added, topped by a bell tower. At that time the monastery enjoyed the special attention of Iván IV the Terrible, including also 60 towns of the environs. The Tsar himself often visited the monastery as a simple pilgrim.

During the Tumultuous Period or Times of Trouble, the Poles sacked the monastery in 1614. During its reconstruction the churches of San Marcinian (1641), a barbican church in (1650) and a bell tower in (1680) were also built. The bells of the bell tower of the church, dating from 1638, are said to be the oldest in Russia.

Ferapontov monastery lost its religious importance little by little, and became a place of retreat or, as in the case of Patriarch Nikon, exile for the distinguished clergy. It was closed by the Emperor Paul I of Russia in 1798, restored as a convent in 1904. It was again closed by the Bolsheviks twenty years later, and transformed into a museum in 1975 .

The museum is part of the national park of northern Russia since 1991 .


Monastery Map:

1. Church of Birth of Mother of God (1490)

2. Church of Annunciation (1534) and Dining Hall

3. Treasury (17th century)

4. Bell Tower

5. Church of Saint Martinian (1640)

6. Holy Gate with Church of Epiphany and Saint Ferapon



















Get in
Ferapontovo is situated on R-5 highway about 115km to north-west from Vologda - it's the easiest way to get there by car or by hitchhike. You can also go there from Cherepovets via Kirillov. Note, that buses from Vologda to Kirillov (several a day) turn from R-5 to Kirillov about 4km before Ferapontovo, so you'll need to not miss the turn (better ask driver beforehand), and then either hitchhike or walk, as buses further are very seldom. There's nothing at the turn to Kirillov except forest and a bus stop (possibly not even mobile carrier), nearest shops and other facilities are in Ferapontovo.

To reach Ferapontovo directly you'll need buses, going to Lipin Bor and further - to Vytegra and even further to Petrozavodsk from Vologda or Cherepovets (buses from Cherepovets can be catched on in Kirillov or aforementioned turn). The only daily buses of those are Vologda-Vytegra in the morning and Cherepovets-Lipin Bor in the evening, also there's evening bus Vologda-Lipin Bor with different schedule on Sunday, others are going only on selected days of week (including 2 buses Kirillov-Ferapontovo only on Tuesdays and Thursdays). Better check timetable beforehand and note that further from their starting point buses can be not only late, but ahead of schedule as well, as well as get canceled, so it's better to check that the bus is on via a call to departing bus station.

For hitchhiking from Vologda you may want to reach first Molochnoe via a suburb bus (goes rather often from central postoffice).


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Cultural (and not so cultural) events



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