Goritsy

The tiny river town of Goritsy is one of the most tranquil escapes in Russia. Today, cruise ships dock here on their way between St. Petersburg and Moscow, but in times past, this picturesque village near Beloozero sat at the center of one of the largest accumulations of monasteries in Russia. A stop here, near the historic Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery (a place of great importance to Ivan the Terrible) and the renowned Goritsy Convent, still has a powerful effect on the visitor. The ornate 14th century Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery structure, despite centuries of raids and decades of Soviet-era neglect, retains the historic grandeur that branded it as one of the “Seven Wonders of Russia” in a recent national competition. With over 100,000 visitors a year, though, this holy riverboat port is certainly becoming better known with each passing year. But the spiritual aura imbued into its beautiful surroundings will probably never dissipate, even under a tidal wave of travelers.