The Nikitsky Monastery was founded in the 12th or possibly even the 11th century. Although it consisted only of wooden buildings it became famous because of the holy feats of a hermit there who was later canonised as St Nikita the Stylite. Having led a sinful youth, Nikita became a monk at the Nikitsky Monastery. However this was not enough for Nikita who decided to chain himself to a pillar where he would remain in prayer. Nikita remained on his pillar until he was killed in 1186 by robbers who believed his chains were made out of silver.
The first stone building work took place in 1528 on the orders of Grand Prince Vasily III, but more extensive building work was carried in the 1560s overseen by Tsar Ivan the Terrible. During this period stone walls were erected around the monastery. During the Time of Troubles the monastery was besieged and burned in 1609 and 1611. It was subsequently fully restored in the mid-17th century.
In 1918 the monastery was nationalised and completely closed in 1923. It was later variously used as a school, as accommodation and as a woman's prison. In the 1960s and 1970s restoration work on the monastery was carried out and the monastery was reopened in 1993, which was followed by more restoration work.
St Nicetas' Cathedral
The monastery's main cathedral is St Nicetas' Cathedral which is also the oldest surviving structure in the monastery. It was built between 1560 and 1564 on the orders of Tsar Ivan the Terrible and incorporated the earlier stone version built in 1528 on the orders of Grand Prince Vasily III. The traditional style church is topped with five silver domes and surrounded by a gallery. Just next to the cathedral is a chapel, which dates from 1768 and supposedly marks the spot where St Nikita the Stylite stood on his pillar.
Next to St Nicetas' Cathedral is the Annunciation Church which was built during the reign of Tsar Alexis in the mid-17th century at the same time as restoration work was carried out on the monastery's walls. The church includes a two-storey refectory and a tent-dome bell tower.
The main entrance into the monastery is through the gates next to the monastery's four-tier bell tower. The tower dates from approximately 1818 and replaced an older version which was built during the reign of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. Located inside the bell tower is the Archangel Gabriel Church.
|Location||Ulitsa Nikitskaya Sloboda|