Monks cells | 17th century

The edifice of the monks’ cells has a complicated building history and unusual arrangement. Four main stages can be distinguished in its construction. At first a small brick Scribe’s cell was erected where the monastery record keeping was carried out. The facade of this chamber located just in the middle of the building was decorated with a casing topped with three pointed projections. Above the vaulted cell there was a stone chamber without vaults with two windows framed with glazed tiles.For the first time such tiles were used in the monastery to embellish the Moscow Tower in the middle of 1660-s. The Scribe’s cell could probably date back to the same period.

At the second stage of the construction work one-storeyed cells between the Scribe’s cell and the Holy Gates were erected. They consisted of two “sections”; each one had an entrance inner porch and was flanked with two cells. “Zaseniya” led to a long narrow corridor which interrupted between the “sections”.Thus small atriums were created behind the cells. Windows of the cells, “zaseniya” and corridor faced these yards. The stoves of the cells were stoked from them as well. Behind the corridor there were small rooms for storing firewood.

At the third stage of the construction an upper storey was erected above the cells. Two vaulted porches were attached to the facade to provide access to it. At the same time the passageway between the cells and the fortification wall was arched, thus turning it into a broad covered passage. Vaulted summer cells looking north were placed above it.

At the fourth stage, in the late 17th – early 18th centuries, the cells were extended to the other side from the Scribe’s cell almost to the corner of the wall of the Assumption monastery. In the 18th-19th centuries this building was greatly altered. Part of the cells was badly damaged in the fire of 1764. In the 19th century the porches were destroyed, the windows were hewn wider, the casings were carved away.

When the monastery was closed there were funds and administrative rooms of the museum and flats there. In July 2002 the interior of a monk’s cell of the 17th-18th centuries was opened on the ground floor of this building. Restoration and adjustment of the monk’s cell for visits was carried out by the firm “Karensi” (Moscow). Museumfication of the cell gives an opportunity to represent a dwelling of the monk in the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery in the 17th-18th centuries.

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