Novodevichy Convent

Novodevichy Convent (the New Maidens' Monastery) is one of the Moscow's most beautiful cloisters and one of the greatest Moscow attractions, second only to the Kremlin. Located in the southwest of the city, it was built in the early 16th century a retirement home for noble women, the "retirement" being either voluntary or forced. The most famous dwellers of the Novodevichy Convent were Tsarina Godunova, widow of Tsar Fedor; Peter the Great's older sister Sophia and his first wife Evdokia.

The Convent is surrounded by fortified walls and has a number of churches inside, the largest and most important being the 5-domed Cathedral of the Virgin of Smolensk. The walls of the Cathedral are covered by extraordinary Italian frescoes dating back to the 16th century. The solid-gold multi-tiered 17th century is considered to be the finest decorative work of the period in Russia.

After the Revolution of 1917, the Convent was made a museum. In 1945, the Assumption Cathedral was returned to the believers. In 1980, Novodevichy Convent became a residence of the Metropolitan of Krutitsy and Kolomna. In 1994, nuns returned to the convent and religious services were resumed on patron saint's days.

The adjoining cemetery is the most famous cemetery in Moscow. It was inaugurated in 1898 and today holds the tombs of Russian authors, musicians, playwrights, and poets, as well as famous actors, political leaders, and scientists, including Gogol, Checkov, Bulgakov, Mayakovsky, Stanislavsky, Shostakovich, Eisenstein, Nikita Khrushchev and Boris Yeltsin.

Duration: 2 hours.

Price: $30 per person.

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