The Kiy Island, the Onega District of the Arkhangelsk Region
Харюшева Юлия Сергеевна
The Kiy Island, a unique phenomenon of Nature, is situated in the Onega Bay of the White Sea, 15 km from the town of Onega. It stretches from the North to the South, is 2 km long and not more than 800 m wide. It is possible to get to the Kiy Island only when the tide is high. Up to 500 plant species grow on the Island, the coastal waters are rich in fish. Imagination ignites with the sight of the granite grey 25 meters high cliffs, with wide sandy beaches and with glorious pine forests full of berries.
The history of the Kiy Island is closely connected with Patriarch Nikon, a famous religious figure of the 17th century, a reformer of the Russian Orthodox Church. The legend says that Nikon got into a heavy storm at sea near the Kiy Island; he lost his companions but managed to reach the Island. In memory of his miraculous salvation he founded the Kiysky Krestnyy (‘Cross’) Monastery by the Deed of the Tsar Aleksey Mikhailovich of June 13, 1656.
The architectural ensemble of the Monastery is of great interest even today. It is one of the three monasteries founded on Nikon’s initiative; he not only searched for a good place to build them but was also the author of some architectural solutions. By the end of the 17th century the Monastery ensemble was practically finished, it took a comparatively small territory and was very compact. Because of the granite stones used for construction, the Monastery looked like a fortress and fundamentally blended with the relief of the island cliffs.
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