The Transfiguration Monastery in Old Russa is the most ancient attraction of the city. The city itself and the monastery were founded at about the same time, when Prince Yaroslav Vladimirovich ruled in Veliky Novgorod. Now the monastery houses the exposition of the Museum of Local Lore of Old Russa. 

The Transfiguration Monastery was founded in 1192. Initially, a wooden church was built here, but it burned down and in 1193 the stone Transfiguration Cathedral was laid. It is located 800 meters from Cathedral Square, and 300 meters from the bank of the Polist River. 

The first stone temple was built in just 3 months. Like many temples of Veliky Novgorod, the Transfiguration Cathedral was small in size and was similar to the Church of the Savior on Nereditsa.  

By the middle of the 15th century, the first stone church was dilapidated, so in 1442 it was dismantled almost to the foundation. A new church was built on the same site. Later it was reconstructed in 1628, after the devastation of Old Russa during the invasion of the Lithuanian army. Despite the renovation, the Transfiguration Cathedral and the churches around it have retained their historical appearance.   

In the 1920s, the Transfiguration Monastery was closed, but the churches were not destroyed. The historical appearance has been preserved by three of the most ancient temples located close to each other: the Transfiguration Cathedral with a bell tower, the Nativity Church and the Sretensky Church. They were used as warehouses. The Church of the Icon of Our Lady of the Old Russa of the 19th century was located 50 meters from the ancient temples. It was rebuilt into a children`s sports school, which still works today.  

During the WWII, battles were fought near Old Russa, so the churches of the Transfiguration Monastery were damaged, but the local authorities decided to restore and transfer them to the Museum of Local Lore. 

In 1964, three churches of the Transfiguration Monastery were restored. A museum and an art gallery were opened inside the Transfiguration Cathedral. You can also climb the bell tower. In the Museum of Local Lore of Old Russa, you can see an exposition dedicated to the history of how the city of salt makers gradually became a balneological resort. There is also an exposition dedicated to the events of the WWI.