St. Nicholas Monastery was founded in 1604 and is now the spiritual center of Russian Orthodoxy in the Ural. The relics of St. Simeon of Verkhoturye, the Wonderworker of All Siberia, who is considered the heavenly patron of the Ural are kept at the monastery.
The huge Holy Cross Cathedral is in the center of the monastery. It is the third Byzantine-style temple built on this site by the project of a Perm architect Alexander Turchevich. The cathedral was founded in 1905 and was built to the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. The temple, designed for 5-7 thousand people, is impressive in its size, which is very unusual for a monastery remote from large cities. By capacity it is one of the largest temples in Russia.
On September 11, 1913 the cathedral was consecrated and the relics of Simeon of Verkhoturye were moved there from Merkushino. Tsar Nicholas II had to attend at its opening but he could not come. Such attention of Nicholas II to such a remote monastery was due to the fact that Grigori Rasputin was a novice of this monastery in his young years. He was born near Tobolsk but he traveled much over Russia and turned to religion just in Verkhoturye in the 90th of 19 century. And by 1910 he already lived in St. Petersburg and had a great influence on the tsar family.
In the Soviet period the monastery was closed but the cathedral was not destroyed, although it was badly damaged. Nowadays, it appears in all its splendor. The famous faience iconostasis was also restored.
Apart from the Holy Cross Cathedral, in the monastery there are the gate churches of Simeon and Ann and the Transfiguration. On the territory of the monastery there is a small museum devoted to the history of Orthodoxy in the Ural.
The village of Merkushino where St. Simeon of Verkhoturye lived in 17 century is 65 km east of Verkhoturye. He was buried under the altar of the Church of Archangel Michael and in 1703 his relics were moved to Verkhoturye. Now pilgrims visit the Novo-Tikhvin Nunnery in Merkushino.