The Ferapontov Monastery is located 115 km from Vologda. It is known that in 1398 the monk Ferapont, with the blessing of the Monk Kirill the Belozersky (Kirill of Beloozero), left the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery and founded a new monastery. The Ferapontov Monastery have had a great influence for almost four centuries: it was the cultural and educational center of the Belozersky region. The last frescoes by Dionisius, the great icon-painter of the late XV - early XVI centuries, have surprisingly survived here.
In 1490 the first stone Cathedral of Nativity of the Virgin was built on the territory of the Ferapontov Monastery. And in 1502 the cathedral was painted by the most famous artist of the time, Dionisius, who also worked on the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. It took a little more than a month for Dionisius and his sons to cover a huge area of the temple walls with frescoes. These are his only surviving frescoes - the 16th century’s artifact, unique for Russia! Thanks to them, the architectural ensemble of the Ferapontov Monastery was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.
The stone Annunciation Church with a belfry and a two-story refectory appeared in the monastery in the first half of the 16th century. In the refectory chamber you can currently see icons, old books and chasubles of Saint Martinian, and its cellar keeps everyday items and tools of peasants from the villages belonging to the monastery. The tent-like Church of Saint Martinian over the tomb of the Monk, the Holy Gates with gateway churches and the bell tower with the oldest belfry clock in Russia have been preserved in the monastery since the mid-17th century. After the reforms by Catherine the Great, the Ferapontov Monastery lost its lands and was closed. Only a parish church functioned here since 1798. In the 1920s the monastery was restored, and the "Museum of Dionisy's Frescoes" was opened here in 1975. Divine services were resumed in the monastery in 1989.