Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery is the largest monastery in Europe. It is situated on the shore of Lake Siverskoye in the town of Kirillov of the Vologda region.
In 1397, two monks of the Moscow Simonov monastery, Kirill and Ferapont, founded a monastery on the shores of Lake Siverskoye. In 1398, Ferapont left Kirill and founded Ferapontov Monastery, 20 km from Kirillov.
The monastery was visited by Ivan the Terrible three times.
In the 15th-17th centuries, it was one of the largest and richest monasteries in Russia, the spiritual center of the Russian North.
By the end of the 16th century, the monastery became one of the largest architectural complexes of its time.
In the 18th century, with the emergence of Russia’s Baltic ports and the decline of the northern trade through Arkhangelsk economic importance of the monastery began to fall.
In 1924, the monastery was turned into a historical, architectural and art museum-reserve.