The architectural ensemble of the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery is one of the most important creations of the Russian artistic culture. The whole medieval town stretches out on the shore of the magnificent Siverskoye Lake. On the territory of 12 hectares there are 11 stone churches of the 15th-18th centuries, numerous service structures surrounded with walls and towers of "The Great Fortress of the Tsar".
The Kirillo-Belozersky historical architectural art museum-reserve was founded in 1924. Status about the museum-reserve was confirmed by a governmental decision in 1968. On April 2, 1997 the Russian President signed a decree that included the Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve into the List of Specially Important Sites of Cultural Heritage of the People of the Russian Federation. Nowadays it is the only high-status museum in the Vologda region.
Expositions and exhibitions are placed in the monuments of architecture. Since 1998 the main exposition of the museum is in the House of the Father Superior (XVII-XIX cent.). In the halls of the ground floor there are two exhibitions, the first one is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the defence of the monastery against the Polish and Lithuanian troops. The second exhibition is called "From the XXIst century to the XVIIth century. History and Costume". It presents costumes of the film "Schism" directed by N. Dostal. One can see also arms of the XVIth-XVIIIth centuries, Patriarch Nikon's arm-chair, objects of old-believers. Icons, church embroidery and objects of the decorative art are exhibited in the halls of the first floor.
The exhibition "Folk art of the Belozersk district" is placed in the spacious vaulted chambers of the monastery cook-house of the 16th century. An important place is occupied by wood-carving, ceramics, peasant embroidery, weaving, lace-making and a folk female costume of the 19th-early 20th centuries.
The exhibition "Russian art of the XVIIth- XIXth centuries" is in the Treasury Hall built in the XVIth century. There one can see icons, church embroidery and objects of the decorative art.
The Refectory with the Church of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple (1519) was opened after its restoration in 2007. The exposition in it is dedicated to the history of the monastery and the church art of the XVth-XIXth centuries. One can visit two exhibitions "World of bells" and "Vologda Lace".
The exhibition "Antiquities of the Belozersk district. History of the region based on the materials of archeological excavations" is placed on the lowest floor of the Church of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple with the refectory. It is the first full exhibition representing archaeology of the Belozersk district in the Vologda Region. Materials of the monastery archeology are displayed for the first time in our region. More than 4000 archeological objects dating back to different chronological periods are represented there: from the Mesolithic period (9000 B.C.) till the late Middle Ages. The Medieval period is fully represented, and that makes this exhibition one of the largest in the North-West of Russia. Among the exhibits there are unique works of ancient art, unique not only in the collection of this museum, but in the archaeological collections of other Russian museums as well.
The exposition "Monk's cell" represents the interior of the ordinary monk's cell of the XVIIth.
The church of St. John Climacus and the Transfiguration church are opened in summer. Their iconostases painted by local masters in the XVIth-XVIIIth centuries have been preserved.
A beautiful view of the architectural ensemble of the monastery opens from the second and third tiers of the walls of the XVIIth century and from the Bell-Tower of the XVIIIth century.
A new museum department "Museum of History of the town Kirillov and of the Kirillov district" was opened in 2010. Its exposition represents the interior of the house built in the XIXth century.
The famous Ferapontov monastery is located 20 kilometers far from Kirillov. The Museum of Dionisy's Frescoes, the branch of the Kirillo-Belozersky museum, is situated in the architectural ensemble of the Ferapontov monastery. Since 2000 its ensemble has been protected by UNESCO. Dionisy's frescoes painted in 1502 were preserved in the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin.
Kirillov with "Great Fortress of Tsar", the Ferapontov monastery with the unique frescoes painted by Dionisy are the most attractive sites of tourism in Russian North