The name comes from the word kruta, meaning "hill," and a small monastery built here sometime in the 13th century was used for defense against the Tatar-Mongol invaders. At the end of the 16th century the monastery's prestige grew when it became the suburban residence of the Moscow metropolitan. The church and grounds were completely rebuilt, and the current structures date from this period. The period of flowering was short-lived; the monastery was closed in 1788 on orders from Catherine the Great, who secularized many church buildings. In the 19th century it was used as army barracks, and it's said that the Russians accused of setting the Moscow fire of 1812 were tortured here by Napoléon's forces. In the 20th century, the Soviets turned the barracks into a military prison. Although the buildings have been returned to the Orthodox Church, the prison, now closed, remains on the monastery grounds.
To your left as you enter the monastery grounds is the five-dome, redbrick
Uspensky Sobor (Assumption Cathedral), erected at the end of the 16th century on the site of several previous churches. It's a working church, undergoing restoration like many of its counterparts throughout the city. Still very attractive inside, it has an assemblage of icons, lovely frescoes, and an impressive all-white altar and iconostasis. The cathedral is attached to a gallery leading to the Teremok (Gate Tower), a splendid example of Moscow baroque. It was built between 1688 and 1694, and its exterior decoration is the work of Osip Startsev. The gallery and Teremok originally served as the passageway for the metropolitan as he walked from his residence (to the right of the Teremok) to the cathedral. You should go through the gate tower to take a full walk around the tranquil grounds.