There are many fabulous churches, convents and monasteries in Moscow, each of which has its own history and style. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at one of the most beautiful religious complexes in Russia, the Novodevichy Convent. In 2004, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Structure and Monuments
Located on the Maiden’s Field, at the bend of the river, this convent has proved to be one of the best places to visit in Moscow. It is surrounded by a centuries-old park, forming a natural buffer zone. Besides, there is a high stone wall with twelve towers that used to protect the religious house in previous centuries. The Novodevichy Convent (also called as New Maiden Convent) was built in 1524 at the behest of Vasily III Ivanovich, who wanted to memorialize his conquest of Smolensk in 1514. Until the mid-20th century, the temple housed a lot of ladies from Russian royal families, as well as nuns from Ukraine and Belarus. In the Soviet period, the premises were closed; only in 1994, nuns returned there and religious services resumed.
According to legends, in the years of the Mongol-Tatar yoke, the most beautiful Russian girls were selected for the Golden Horde in this particular part of the country.
What can you see in this area? Naturally, the centuries-old buildings surrounded by extensive forests are beautiful by themselves. But we’ve selected some special attractions worthy of your undivided attention:
- Novodevichy Cemetery. Many famous Russian historical personalities are buried here, such as writer Anton Chekhov, composer Dmitri Shostakovich, film director Sergei Eisenstein, to name a few. If you take a private guide in Moscow, he’ll surely show you dozens of haunted monuments to outstanding persons.
- Smolensky Cathedral. It is rightfully considered one of the most interesting places in Russia. Dedicated to the icon Our Lady of Smolensk, the Cathedral impresses its guests with magnificent, eye-catching frescos and unique Baroque style architectural elements.
- The Swan Lake. From the lake you can see the business district of the Russian Capital with its impressive skyscrapers.
There are many other churches on the territory of the Novodevichy Convent, and each of them has its own history and heritage.
To reap the full benefits of your sightseeing, plan an excursion to this place for a clear and sunny day, so that you could contemplate the exciting views of the Sparrow Hills.
Working hours and Prices
Where is Novodevichy Convent situated? It is in the south-western district of the historic town of Moscow.
- The religious complex is open every day from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The entrance to the Convent is free of charge (unless on a guided visit there), the entrance to the Novodevichy Cemetery is free of charge.
It will take you about two hours to see all the tourist attractions of this place. If you feel tired and hungry after such a walk, visit one of the numerous restaurants available there, for instance, the Hinkalnaya or the Golubka restaurant.
To get to the Convent, take the underground (red line) to Sportivnaya and then walk for about 10-12 minutes, enjoying the beauty of the city’s oldest part. You can also use the services of Uber or Yandex Taxi during your Moscow tours.