St. Nicholas Monastery Complex in the city of Mahilyou

Date of Submission: 30/01/2004
Criteria: (i)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Délégation Permanente de la République de Bélarus auprès de l'UNESCO
Ref.: 1896
Word File

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The St. Nicholas Monastery complex in the city of Mahilyou is a monument of Baroque architecture. It is situated in the Dnieper river valley, in a fenced territory. It consists of a number of stone buildings: the St. Nicholas and St. Onuphry Churches, a dwelling house (a hospital), a belfry and a fence with an entrance gate. The stone building of the St. Nicholas Church was erected on the place of a wooden church from 1669 to 1672. The church is a three-nave cross-dome basilica with an octahedral light tambour and a large bulbous cupola over the middle part of the church. The dominant architectural feature of the church was a two-tower main facade with a figured pediment decorated with a set of diversiform tiered bays. A prominent element were carved floral patterns in the decor of the walls that are consistent with the carving of the iconostasis. The main entrance is marked by an octahedral tambour that was built later. Side facades are decorated by high pilasters, the wings of the transept are completed with figured boards.The choirs are situated in the babynets (the fore-part of the church in front of the parvis) over the entrance. There are ancillary premises and a spiral staircase on each side of the babynets. The church features a fine combination of the decor of the facade and of the interior, which is dominated primarily by a complex carved four-tier wooden iconostasis that dates back to the 17th century and is crowned with a sculptural crucifix. In addition to the iconostasis, the interior of the church is decorated with monumental paintings dating back to different times. The oldest of them are frescoes made in the late 17th century -New Testament Trinity under the cupola and pictures of the four Evangelists with symbols on the sails. In the second tier, between the window openings of the lighting drum there are frescoes of the first half of the 18th century featuring biblical and evangelical stories. Preserved in the altar part are small subject scenes and ornamental decor of the late 18th-early 19th centuries. The St. Onuphry Church, which was built in 1798 near the St. Nicholas church, is a "warm" (winter) church. It is a cross-dome church, with a lighting cylindrical drum with a spherical cupola over the middle of the church. The wings of the transept are completed with triangular pediments and decorated with pilasters. The dwelling house was constructed in the 17th century as a hospital and a church dwelling house. It is a one-storeyed rectangular building. The side facade is completed with a figured board and decorated with three coupled arched bays. The fence with a gate, built in the 17th-18th centuries is a blind stone wall that surrounds the trapezoid territory. It is decorated with an arcature band. The 17th-18th century belfry is situated at the south-western side of the fence. It is a square two-tier building with a high hipped roof. The first level is blind, with the edges decorated with arched bays and corners with pilasters. The second level is hexahedral, with archways. At present the complex is an active monastery.