Smolensky Ascension Monastery - the historical name, the Holy Ascension Convent - the modern name of the monastery, which is located in the center of the city, on Ascension Hill (Konenkova Street).
The monastery was founded in 1515, but until the end of the XVII century all its buildings were wooden. During the years of the Polish intervention (1611 - 1654gg.) It housed the monastery of the Jesuit Order. In 1665, the monastery was again consecrated as an Orthodox and transformed into a convent.
There is a legend that Natalya Naryshkina, the mother of Peter the Great, studied literacy at the Ascension Monastery. Natalya Naryshkina really lived in Smolensk with her father Kirill Naryshkin, who led the local Streltsky army in 1667-1671, but information about the upbringing of Peter the Great's mother in the monastery is found only in the monastic documents of the late 18th century, that is, a century after the events mentioned. No other supporting documents were found, so historians do not confirm the authenticity of the tradition.
At the same time, Peter I really supported Voznesensky Monastery. And it connects with the history of the first visit to Smolensk by the Russian autocrat. Peter I arrived in Smolensk in 1698, returning from Western Europe to Moscow in connection with the Streltsy riot. In Smolensk, he decided to administer his cruel trial of local archers. And here historical information is again intertwined with the legends with which our ancient city is so rich. According to legend, he ordered the execution of every tenth of them, and the rest to whip the whip. Hegumenia of the Ascension Monastery Marfa Rydvanskaya stood up for the archers. Having done on her knees all the way from the monastery to the sovereign of the palace, she fell to the king at her feet and with tears in her eyes asked for pardon of the archers. The abbess is said to have succeeded in settling the world in the soul of the sovereign, the Russian autocrat irreconcilable to the rioters, not only pardoned Smolensk archers who participated in the rebellion, but also raised their salaries. Peter I also promised the abbess to help the monastery.
In fact, Peter I was subsequently in Smolensk, more than once he rendered special attention and comprehensive assistance to the Ascension Monastery.
In 1693, construction began on the stone monastery cathedral, which was completed in 1700. In the appearance of the Ascension Cathedral affected the features of the architecture of Peter the Great's time. The smooth white walls of the three-part church are decorated with octahedral windows in the baroque style. The building is a two-story cathedral, on the ground floor is a temple in honor.
The composition of the monastery includes the stone cathedral church, the Church of the Akhtyrka Mother of God and the side church of the holy Great Martyr Catherine.
The Gate Church of the Akhtyrka Mother of God was erected in 1830 according to a project of the provincial architect Alshevsky in the style of late classicism.
The Ekaterininsky side-chapel, a small single-domed church, contrasts sharply with the cathedral's whiteness in turquoise tones. It was added in the years 1764-1765 in the style of transition from baroque to early classicism. p>
In 1929 the cloister was closed. It posted courses in air defense and the City Council of the CCA. In 1969, an exhibition hall was opened in the building of the Ascension Cathedral, which was located here until 2008. In 2008, the regional authorities handed over the complex of buildings of the Ascension Monastery, although the revival of the monastery’s life began in 2004.
Now in the monastery, work on the improvement. The lower church acts in honor of St. Sergius of Radonezh.
The main domed cross of the Spaso-Voznesensky nunnery (installed in 2010) is 4 meters high and 3 meters wide. And the belfry of the monastery at the moment is the largest in the Smolensk diocese. It has 14 bells cast in the best workshops of the Baltic Foundry. The total weight of the belfry is more than 10 tons, and the largest bell weighs 5 tons.
After exploring the Ascension Monastery, we recommend that you pay attention to the first high-rise building of the city standing next to the Cathedral Church, the House-Commune. It was built in 1930-1931. in the style of late constructivism. This building is also covered with legends, about which we will definitely tell.