Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery

The Novodevichy Convent was founded in 1525 by the Great Prince Basil III. He had promised to establish a monastery in honour of the Smolenskaya icon of the Virgin when Smolensk was freed from the Lithuanians.

The convent was rebuilt by Peter the Great’s half-sister Sofia in the 17th century. Ironically, later, she was confined to the convent, which she had built, and was imprisoned for life!

During Sofia’s construction, the impressive bell tower was built. Originally, the bell-tower was planned to be eight-tiered. However, the erection of the tower was stopped when it contained only six tiers and was 73 meters high. Unfortunately, the name of its creator is unknown, but it is considered one of the most beautiful and imposing bell-tower in Moscow.

Other impressive elements to the convent is the Transfiguration Gate-Church, which is where you will enter through. It was completed in 1689 in the Moscow-Baroque style. The oldest building, and perhaps the most beautiful, in the convent is the Smolensk Cathedral. Inside it is covered in frescoes and the iconostasis is magnificent.

The Monastery was abolished in the 1920s, and in the 1930s a branch of the State History Museum occupied the building. Nowadays, the Novodevichy Convent is a working monastery.

Alongside the monastery is the famous cemetery, which was founded in 1898. More than 27 000 people, including many famous ones, are buried there. Some of the cemetery’s famous inhabitants are are Nadezhda Alliluyeve-Stalin (the wife of Joseph Stalin), Nikita Khrushchev (the former party secretary), Sergei Prokofiev (the composer) and Sergei Eisenstein (the film director). Although slightly morbid, the cemetery is extremely interesting, as the tombstones aren’t anything like you’d find in your own country!

Essential Information for Visitors

Address and Contact Details

1, Novodevichiy pr-d.
(499) 246-8526
Metro: Sportivnaya

Opening Hours

Daily 09.00-17.00

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