Monastery of the Virgin and Saint Alexey

This monastery was founded in 1605 near Tomsk on the banks of river Bolshaya Kirgizka where it flows into Tom River. It was built in wood and burned several times. The current structure in stone was built in 1789. The monastery was used as a center for the propagation of the orthodox religion in the area along Tom River. It was also a center of spiritual and cultural instruction. During the 17th and 18th centuries the monks were commissioned to go and preach evangelical ideas to the native peoples of Siberia. In 1746 the first school of the city opened in that monastery. In 1729-1730 the great grand-father of poet Pushkin, godson of Peter the Great, Abram Gannibal was held captive in the monastery. After the death of Peter the Great he had fallen into disgrace and has been exiled to Tomsk for a few months. In 1863, the ”Great” bell weighing 300 pounds (near 5 tons) was raised in the bell tower.
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