The Nikolsky Convent was founded in approximately 1350 as a monastery by St Dmitry of Prilutsk but this was destroyed in 1382 when Tokhtamysh led his Tatar army on a punitive campaign against Rus. It was later refounded just before the Time of Troubles when it was once more destroyed, only to be refounded yet again in 1613. In 1680 work began on the first stone building in the monastery - St Nicholas' Cathedral - which was only completed in 1721. The remainder of the monastery's buildings were rebuilt in stone in the 18th century. In 1923 the monastery was closed and St Nicholas' Cathedral and the monastery's bell tower were demolished. It was only reopened after the fall of the Soviet Union but as a convent rather than a monastery. After being reopened St Nicholas' Cathedral was rebuilt.
St Nicholas' Cathedral
The main cathedral in the convent is St Nicholas' Cathedral which is a modern building having been building between 2000 and 2003 to replace the original stone version which was built between 1680 and 1721 but demolished during the Soviet period. The cathedral is topped with five domes but also has two alters on the front which are also topped with domes. Just behind the cathedral is a belfry which was built in the same style. There is also a small wooden belfry in front of the cathedral.
The oldest surviving church within the monastery is the Annunciation Church which dates from 1738 and is opposite to St Nicholas' Cathedral. The tall church is incorporated into the monastery's refectory and is topped with five small domes.
Ss Peter and Paul's Gate-Church
Ss Peter and Paul's Gate-Church was built in 1748 and is attached to the convent's walls which were also built around the same time in the mid-18th century. The church was built in the same style and decorated in the same colours as the Annunciation Church.
Our Lady of Smolensk Church
Immediately outside the Nikolsky Convent is the Our Lady of Smolensk Church which was built in 1764 on the site where the Borisoglebsky Monastery once stood. The church is also dedicated to St Cornelius and as such is also sometimes referred to as St Cornelius' Church. It comprises a standard octagon-on-cube structure with an attached refectory and bell tower. After the Revolution the church remained open up until the Second World War. Later it was used as a warehouse which caused considerable damage - its bell tower even collapsed in 1988. In 1996 the building was transferred to the Nikolsky Convent. Restoration work followed which saw its bell tower being rebuilt.
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