The extensive cloisters of the Kirillov-Belozersky Monastery
Goritzy (also known as Goritsy, or Горицы in Russian) is a small, ancient village with a population of around 1300. However, it is visited by many holiday cruise ships whose passengers make the 7km journey by bus to the Kirillov-Belozersky Russian Othordox Monastery on the shore of the White Lake (Lake Siverskoye).
After our cruise ship, the Viking Lomonosov, moored on the Sheksna River (part of the Volga-Baltic Waterway), a bus took us past some fascinating ornate wooden houses and unusual shelters (see pictures below). Almost all of the buildings in this region were made of wood which was not surprising given the huge number of trees everywhere.
The Kirillov-BelozerskyMonastery was architecturally stunning and has a fascinating history.
In 1397 two monks, Kirill (who was also associated with the Cyrillic alphabet) and Ferapont, built a wooden church as a result of a vision.
Over the centuries, it expanded into a complex of buildings protected by walls 11m high, 7m thick walls built on the instructions of Ivan the Terrible (Tsar Ivan IV).
Peter the Great once visited the monastery and took away its bells for the metal to make canons to fight the Swedes.
After the October 1917 communist revolution the monastery became a geriatric hospital and nursing home, and was even a political prison. It was converted into a museum in 1968 and now receives some 200,000 visitors annually. Amongst the treasures on display is one of the finest collections of Russian icons in the world.
Before leaving Goritzy, we had an opportunity to buy low-cost souvenirs from the many pierside stalls selling clothing, local wooden crafts, vodka and even freshly smoked fish.
The first building seen from the river - the 16th century Resurrection Convent
Amongst the local produce for sale beside the quay was this collection of smoked fish