The Kiy Island is a real masterpiece of northern nature is situated in the Onega Bay of the White Sea, 15 km from the town of Onega. It stretches 2km long from the North to the South and has width of more than 800 meters. Massive granite rocks combine with tiny lakes here and approximately 500 species of plants grow on this island. Shoaling water are rich of fish and can warm up to +24oC (75,2оF) in summer. The granite grey of 25 meters high cliffs, wide sandy beaches, magnificent pine forests full of berries, an interesting architectural ensemble, a history of the Kiy Priory of Cross and the original nature of the island attract thousands of tourists in summer (up to 2000 tourists).
A history of the Kiy Island is closely connected with the name of Patriarch Nikon – a famous religious figure of the 17th century who was a reformer of the Russian Orthodox Church. The legend says that Nikon got into a serious storm near the Kiy Island, lost all his companions but could save himself when reached an unknown island. In memory of his miraculous salvation he founded The Kiy Monastery of the Holy Cross.
Indoors you can see several buildings, many of them were restored newly. The monastery is located in a south part of the island. The main building of whole complex is The Krestovozdvizhenskiy Cathedral (1660) that was erected on the natural granite groundwork. It is shiningly white, really very commodious and light with wide windows. Another small building is The Church of Jesus Honest Trees Origin or «Nadkladeznaiya» (1660) and it is made of stone and bricks. There is two-storeyed stone corps, different housewifely sections and living rooms were situated inside it.
This beautiful monastery complex includes The Church of Mother of God Birth (1660) with a dining room, belfry and a burial too.
In a depth of the island you can find The Church Of All Saints (1661), it is wooden and was built on the cemetery and a small fragment of wooden railing with a turret (1871). Earlier there were 7 turrets, many loopholes, inner passages and 8 big cannons. Today the monastery accept pilgrim from all over the country. The whole monastery complex looks like a fortress and fundamentally blended with the relief of island rocks. The vacation house «Kiiskiy» places here since 1924.