The 10 Most Beautiful Monasteries in Russia: Winter View

Shad Tchup Ling Buddhist monastery, founded in 1995, on top of Mount Kachkara near the town of Kachkanar in the Ural Mountains, 1,707 km from Moscow.

The Trinity Lavra of Saint Sergius is located 70 km northeast of Moscow in Sergiev Posad; it was founded in 1337. The monastery is considered the spiritual home of the Russian Orthodox Church and has over 300 resident monks.

The Novodevichy Convent is one of the most beautiful architectural sites in Moscow, established in 1524. It is located on a kind of peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Moskva River. The convent comprises 14 buildings, including residential quarters, administrative buildings, bell towers and churches.

The Trinity Convent in Murom. In the 1640s, wealthy merchant Taras Borisov endowed the nearby Trinity Convent, whose ornate Church of the Holy Trinity is decorated with ceramic tiles.

The Svensky Monastery, located at the confluence of the Desna and Sven rivers, is five kilometers from the city of Bryansk. According to legend, it was founded by Count Roman Mikhailovich in 1288.

The Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, located in Kirillov on the shores of Lake Siverskoye, was founded at the end of the 14th century. Its founder Saint Cyril was a descendant of the noble Muscovite Velyaminov family. He rose through the ranks from monk to archimandrite at the Simonov Monastery in Moscow, but declined the top position and at the age of 60 he moved to the White Lake region, where he founded a monastery.

The Shcheglovsky Monastery of the Holy Mother of God is a male monastery near the city of Tula, 180 km from Moscow. Adorned with the icon of Mary the Milk Giver, the main cathedral, consecrated in 1860, is only open during prayer services. There are several small structures inside the complex, as well as a tranquil garden. Overall there is a 19th century feel to the place.

Located in the city of Istra about 40 kilometers from Moscow, the New Jerusalem Monastery was founded in 1656 by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Nikon. The patriarch chose the site because he felt it resembled the Holy Land. The Istra River and the buildings are meant to symbolically represent the Jordan River and Jerusalem, respectively.

The Belogorsky Monastery is located 85 km (53 miles) from the regional capital of Perm. Due to the unique climate, in winter the whole cathedral is covered in frost, resembling a fairy-tale castle made of sweet frosting. The first wooden church was built on the site in 894.

Vysokopetrovsky Monastery is closest to Red Square (2 km). It is located on Petrovka Street in Moscow and was probably established by Saint Peter in 1315.

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