A few kilometers from Bakhchisaray cut through the mountains scenic gorge Maryam-Dere, which in translation from the Tatar means "Valley of Mary. The path meanders along its bottom among the trees and shrubs on the sides of cliffs rise. Looking at the valley from the top, you realize that in ancient times, people were wiser than us and appreciate the beauty of nature, tried to live in harmony with it, so for their homes, and even more so for the monasteries, they chose the most beautiful places. Here and here many centuries ago came Uspensky Monastery, one of the oldest in the Crimea. Similarly determine the time of its foundation today is not taken one. In the academic world there are two versions. According to the first, the monastery was founded by Greek monks ikonopochitateli in VIII-IX centuries fled from Byzantium. Gorge, something akin to the ancient Athos, reminding them his native land, was struck by its beauty, moreover, there was a source of fresh water. The first monks who settled here, hollowed out in the rock temple and cave-cells - their new home.
Location monastery was interesting and profitable: it seemed to exist on the border of two worlds-Christian and pagan. In the valleys near the monastery, archaeologists discovered the Christian cemeteries, dating from the VI century. These findings indirectly support the first version: if there were Christian settlements, the faithful need the temples for worship. Christian settlements coexisted with pagan Alano-Gothic tribes. This allowed the first monks to engage in missionary work, the local tribes to carry the light of Divine Revelation.
Proponents of the second version include the base Assumption Monastery to XV century. Perhaps the former monastery located in a cave near the southern gate of the fortress Kirk-Op (Chufut-Calais). But after the capture of the fortress by the Turks in 1475, he was moved to a new location. This version supported the well-known scientist of the XIX century, a researcher at the Crimea Bertier de la Garde, referring to the ancient manuscripts that have not reached our days.
About why Assumption monastery appeared exactly at this place, tell stories. In the old days in the valley shepherd named Michael tending the herd. Suddenly he saw a wonder: a rock in seven yards from the ground - the icon of the Virgin and the lighted candle in front of her. Michael hurried home and told about the miracle of the owner. Came to a ravine people with great honors removed the icon and moved into the house, who was in the surrounding mountains. But in the morning the icons in the home did not find: it was again on the same rock, at the same place. Then people realized that the Mother of God willed that her icon was there. And they have carved in the rock temple and the temple steps and brought in an icon. The phenomenon of the holy icon occurred on 15 August, the day of the Assumption of the Virgin, so the new church was dedicated to this event. A Gorge has been called Maryam-Dere - Santa Maria Valley.
The second legend tells of an evil dragon who had settled in these lands and devours animals and people. The Greeks and the Genoese began to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking him to release them from the snake. One night they saw a lighted candle on the hill. To reach it, hewed into the rock stage and climbed on them, they saw the image of the Blessed Virgin. Next to the icon of lay dead snakes. Joyful people exalted thanks to God, the snake cut into pieces and burned. Since then, the villagers began to come to the mountain and pray to the Virgin.
Image of the serpent, devouring people, and animals is very old. In Christian art often depicts St. George and the Archangel Michael, who spear or a sword pierced his throat snake. For Christians, the image of a snake Crimea was associated first with paganism, and then, obviously, was moved to the Muslim religion, the environment which had to survive Uspensky monastery during the formation and strengthening of the Crimean Khanate.
Another legend says that the miraculous icon of the Mother of God appeared on the rock of the Assumption, was transferred there from the monastery in Sumela near Trebizond (now territory of Turkey). Ancient Sumelsky monastery was founded in 386 by the monks Barnabas and Sofronie, who pointed the way from Athens to the place pustynnozhitelstva Odigitrii icon of the Virgin, which means "guide to". This ancient icon legend refers to the time of the apostles and ascribes to 72 icons of Our Lady of the Evangelist Luke. Thus was the Assumption Convent, and on the opposite side of the gorge - the Greek settlement Marijampole. During its long history, the monastery had known periods of prosperity and periods of neglect.
Ancient cave temple and the monastery itself became known as the Assumption of the great event - the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
During the Turkish invasion of the Crimea in 1475 Assumption monastery escaped defeat. Soon near the monastery has established a new capital of the Crimean Khanate - Bakhchisaray. This proximity allows after arriving to the Khan of the Orthodox states, to pray among co-religionists. Wonder at the end of the XV century monastery became the residence of the Metropolitan.
In 1781 in the Crimea from Anatolia arrived Greek priest Konstantin Spirandi, received permission Khan Sha.
Of revival called the Dormition Skete. Russia called hermitage in a small monastery, consisting of several cells.
Reopened monastery had only three cells and cave temple of the Assumption of the Virgin. We had a lot of work to get for building the monastery, but help came from everywhere: the Holy Synod has supplied the necessary liturgical books, the church Kherson-Tauride diocese transferred the monastery church utensils, on private charitable donations was purchased new iconostasis and two bells. Expanded to a more convenient road leading to the monastery area was fenced by a stone wall.
After the revolution, the monastery lasted several more years. But the priests did not accept Soviet power in 1921, monastic clergy accused of conspiracy and the monastery was closed. On its territory was established labor colony named after Artem. Almost all the buildings and churches destroyed, preserved only the Assumption church, deanery and stone buildings in the valley. Monastic value expropriated. Golden tabernacles, altar crosses, bowls, chalices, mirohranitelnitsy, as well as religious books were not removed in the repository, they piled in one room of the colony. Due to improper storage, many things had deteriorated, the books were melt furnace.
Despite the fact that the monastery was officially closed in 1921, the faithful come here to pray in the holy place. They appealed to authorities to give them the three remaining churches. Commission Executive Committee inspected the premises of temples and concluded: Mark the Evangelist Church destroyed, the wooden floor is fully dismantled, ripped doors and windows, the building required urgent repair, the temple of the Assumption of the Mother of God and the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen were in satisfactory condition; cemetery chapel was littered and gradually destroyed.
Earthquake in 1927 destroyed part of the temple, located on the upper plateau. To the remains of these buildings did not fall down, where there was a colony, they dismantled for building materials. During the Great Patriotic War, an abandoned monastery once gave shelter to the wounded in the fighting soldiers. In the postwar years, the hospital convert to a mental hospital. And the monastery remained abandoned. He attended the tourists, people interested in the history of his native land.
New revival of the Holy Assumption monastery began in 1993. Abbot of the monastery became a monk father Silvanus (Mackay). Dragged into a monastery, pilgrims worship the holy place to pray at the famous icon of the Mother of God, called "Tricheirousa. In the XIII century icon was presented to Archbishop Savva of Serbia and transferred to Serbia. Kogda.na this country was attacked by the Turks, monks, save icon, tied her to a donkey's back. After a long journey, a donkey brought to the gate of an icon from the Monastery of Chilandar. Monks reverently lifted it from the back of the animal and placed with great honor in the altar, but in the morning she was found in the episcopal chair. So Mother of God Three-ruchitsa Hilandarskoy became abbot. With icons "Three-ruchitsa" to do lists, which depicted the Virgin Mary, and the bottom - the hand of St. John of Damascus. Icon stored in the Holy Dormition Monastery, considered miraculous.