The Monastery of John the Baptist was founded on a high hill over the water meadow of the river Vyazma in 1542. You can see there one of the architectural masterpieces of Smolensk region. It is the three-tent church of the (Hodigitria) Icon of the Mother of God.
The monastery was founded by Gerasimus of Boldino, a monk from the Goritsky Monastery of Pereslavl-Zaleski. The first church was built in honor of John the Baptist and lent its name to the entire monastery. In 1566 the monastery was visited by Tsar Ivan the Terrible and in 1598 it was visited by Tsar Boris Godunov. Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich and Patriarch Nikon came there several times.
In 17 century the three-tent church of Smolensk «Hodigitria» Icon of the Mother of God was built at the monastery. The church is often called an architectural masterpiece. The church is crowned by three ranged tents with with traditional Russian domes. They are on a richly decorated cornice in the style of the «patternwork of 17 century». The decorative elements were made from brick of three colours. The decorative elements have 16 sizes and shapes.
The value of this church as an architectural monument is also that there remained few such churches in Russia, as Patriarch Nikon prohibited to build the new three-tent churches and issued an order to ruin the existing ones. The similar churches, but with much more modest decorations, remained at St. Alexis monastery in Uglich, in Yaroslavl, in Putinki outside Moscow, in Ryazan, and at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius.