St. Michael’s Monastery is a great place for those who want not only to contemplate the most beautiful views of the snow-capped mountains of Adygea, but also who want to relax their souls. There are always a lot of people who came here not only from nearby cities, but also from all over Russia and the former Soviet republics.
The monastery is located on the slope of Mount Fiziabgo. The monastery was founded in 1877 and in the 19th century was the largest in the entire northern Caucasus. The monastery was founded by people from the holy Mount Athos and is the highest mountain monastery in Russia.
View from the walls of the monastery View from the walls of the monastery
The official name of the monastery is SMAP or St. Michael’s Athos Hermitage. Monastery for men, the buildings of the monastery are architectural monuments. In 1928, it was closed until 2001, at that time there was a children’s colony, a tourist base, and a rest home on its territory. Now the monastery is being restored and revived, the temples destroyed during the time when the monastery was closed and blown up during the Second World War are being rebuilt.
At a distance of just over 1 km from the monastery, there is a holy spring, which was restored and consecrated in 2002. Thousands of pilgrims draw water from it every day, the source is also called “healing”. A large bathhouse and two small ones were built nearby. For a number of reasons, they did not reach the source, but went down to the cave monastery.
The monastery, right underground, in the thickness of the mountain, at a depth of 40 meters. Temple and cells for monks. The passages are narrow and all the time you need to tilt your head, a high ceiling is only in the «temple» part of the cave. Always cool, always + 5. The cell resembles a recess in a rock with a small, no more than a meter wide stone “bench”, on which the monks slept while sitting .
These caves are much older than the monastery founded in the 19th century. As studies of these caves have shown, they were created by hermits from Byzantium back in the 8th — 10th centuries!!! And only then they were found by the monks of St. Michael’s Monastery, in the 19th century. Many of the passages that used to exist are now littered and, according to legend, valuable books are still stored there, taken out of Byzantium during the persecution of monks. Previously, 11 passages led to the underground monastery and the total length was more than 3 km, but now the length is not at all large and excursions are led along all the passages, it is about 220 meters.
Everyone who enters the cave monastery is given candles at the entrance, which illuminate the path, because there is no lighting in the cave. As the guide said, the lighting was not carried out at the request of the monks so that nothing worldly would penetrate the atmosphere of this place.
Many steps lead down from the main monastery to the underground one (about 700 meters between them), going down is easy and simple, but then it’s hard for people without a habit to go upstairs , but along the way there are a couple of benches for rest.
Pobeda village, Adygea