Because of its powerful walls the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery, laid down in 1216, was used as the Yaroslavl Kremlin and center of defense. Since that time the monastery also housed the treasury. Now it is the most interesting sight of Yaroslavl.
Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery is considered to be the oldest building in Yaroslavl. It was laid down 1216 году. The older building was only the Assumption Cathedral, which was erected in 1215, but it was blown up in 1937, and was reconstructed only in 2010.
Now the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery is a museum. There are held permanent expositions, including «The Song of Igor`s Campaign» in the Bishop`s House. As it is known, the only copy of this piece of the ancient Rus` culture is kept there.
Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral was laid down at the same time as the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery, but it was severely damaged during the fire of 1501, so it was pulled down and replaced by a new cathedral built during 1506-1516 by Moscow masters. Externally, it strongly resembles the churches of the Moscow Kremlin but has its peculiar features, such as a porch with antique columns.
Near the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral the Belfry and the Church of the Pecherskaya Mother of God Icon are located. It was built in 15 century. You should ascend the Belfry to enjoy the views on the historic center of Yaroslavl. On the roof of the Belfry of the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery you can see ornamental balls with needles making the photos of the monastery very recognizable.
In 1516 there was built the first stone tower of the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral – the Holy Gate. By the way of this tower you could come out on the embankment of the Kotorosl`. After that in the 16 century the monastery was encircled by a stone wall. The broadest towers of the monastery, Bogorodskaya and Uglichskaya ones, overlooking the Bogoyavlenskaya (Epiphany) Square, were built between 1623 and 1623.
Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery is located in the immediate vicinity of the other sights of the city. On the high embankment of the Volga you can go to the Spit of the Volga and Kotorosl`. In 2010 the Assumption Cathedral was also restored on this place. A bit farther down the embankment of the Volga you can see the Governor House and the Church of Elijah the Prophet.