The Alexandrovsky Monastery (the Convent of St. Alexander) is situated after Pokrovsky Bridge, on the left, high bank of the Kamenka River, over a ravine. According to a legend, the Convent was founded by Aleksandr (Alexander) Nevsky in 1240. In the old times, the Convent of St. Alexander was known as the Grand Lavra and served as a burial vault for Suzdal princesses.
Nothing has been preserved from that ancient age, apart from two late tombstones in a church; the tombstones bear writings telling that two Suzdal princesses, Mariya and Agrippina, were buried here (in 1362 and 1393, respectively).
During the 1608 to 1610 Polish invasion, the Convent was burned down. In 1695, the Convent's hegumenia (abbess) Domnika made a request to Tsar Peter the Great to construct a new church in the Convent; in the request, she mentioned that the Convent had been founded by Aleksandr Nevsky in 1240.
In 1695, Illarion, the metropolitan of Suzdal, issued a charter for the construction of the new church, which received the name of the Church of Ascension. Funds for the erection of the church were donated by Tsarina Natalya Kirillovna, Peter's mother. The construction of the bell tower falls in the same period.
The church is designed as a high, two-tiered rectangular volume crowned with five spires. From the east side, the rectangular volume is extended with an apse; a heated side-altar is added from the north side and a porch is added from the east. The windows are decorated with carved linings featuring simple columns in the first tier and complex figures in the second tier. Complex figure columns are used also for decorating the high, soaring drums.
The octahedral "column" of the tented-roofed bell tower is put on a short rectangular volume, with wooden stairs added to it. The bell tower's walls are almost completely left undecorated, which makes it unique among Suzdal's tented-roofed bell towers. The upper part is modestly decorated with carved linings of the arched openings and linings over the roof windows.
In the first half of the 18th century, a short fence was constructed around the convent; the fence was decorated with decorative small towers, stylised as defence towers. It was at the same time that the Holy Gates were constructed (restored in 1947); the Gates featured a two-tiered tower and resembled the Monastery of the Trinity's Holy Gates, which would later be included into the ensemble of the Rizopolozhensky Convent. This resemblance is no coincidence: the fence and the towers of the Convent of St. Alexander were erected under the supervision of Ivan Gryaznov who in the late 17th century was involved in the construction of the Monastery of the Trinity (later destroyed) and the Rizopolozhensky Convent.
In 1764, when the church lands were being secularised, the Convent of St. Alexander was dissolved, with its cathedral being transformed into the town's parish church.
In 2006, the Convent of St. Alexander was handed over back to the Russian Orthodox Church, and in September 2007 the first service was held in the Church of the Ascension.
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