The ancient village of Goritzy, is a charming, typical Russian village. It is best known for the fantastic Monastery of St Cyril, which perches on the shore of the White Lake nearby. The historic monastery can trace its origins back to 1397, when two monks were visited by a vision. This resulted in them building a wooden church on the site.
In later years, this church grew in its importance, and was consistently extended and rebuilt, with additional buildings also being made at the complex. By the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the whole monastery was made of stone and was surrounded by its defensive walls - built on the Tsar's orders.
Peter the Great also visited the monastery; in fact on one of his visits, he took away the bells, in order to make cannons to fight the invading Swedish forces.
Following the revolution of 1917 the monastery stopped being used for religious purposes. It served a number of different functions - including a spell as a nursing home - and in 1968 it was converted into a fascinating museum. Amongst the treasures on display is one of the finest collections of Russian religious icons in the world.