Novodevichyi Convent, Moscow
One more very interesting Monastery that has great history and wonderful architecture. The Novodevichy (New Maidens) Convent, the pre-eminent monastery-convent in Moscow throughout its history, was founded in 1524 in honor of the return of Smolensk to Russia in 1514.
The Cathedral, named after the icon of the Virgin of Smolensk, was erected in 1525. In form it is very similar to the Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin. However, the proportions are slightly different: the full-blown cupolas are closer together and their general appearance is more slender. The most noticeable difference is in the use of a sub-basement or undercroft, a device used in wooden churches and in the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin. This device became widespread in Moscow in the 16th century.
Inside the Smolensk Cathedral is a gilded iconostasis by Mikhailov dating from the late 17th century. In the cemetery attached to the Novodevichy Convent, one of the most prestigious in Moscow, lie all the leading writers and artists of the 19th century. It was at the Novodevichy Convent that Boris Godunov sought to retire, and from the steps of Smolensk Cathedral that the people and his agents persuaded him to accept the throne of Russia.
Exposition: architecture, art, history, orthodoxy .
Comments to prices: free of charge.
Working hours: Tuesday is off. Other days from 10.00 a.m. till 17.00 p.m.
The convent is a masterpiece of Russian architecture with its onionshaped domes. I was founded in 1524 to celebrate the conquest of the town of Smolensk from the Lithuanians.
The cementary of the convent is the last resting places of many famous Russians.
It has been founded durino 1954 and here used to retire high society women, some willing, some not.
The most important building of the monastery is the Smolensk cathedral, built copying the style of assumption cathedral in kremlin.
Other sites worth a visit in the monastery are: the bell tower the Assunption church and Ambrosievskaya tserkov.
To reach the monastery you can take the red metro line, direction Yugo Zapapadnaya, and stop at Sportivnaya station, from here you should walk 500 meters, just look for the towers and follow the direction.
Novodevichy Monastyr opened since wensday to Monday from 10 am to 5 pm.
Walk through the gateway in the high walls that surround the Novodevichy Convent and you enter another world. From the middle of the 16th Century this place was the retreat (and the prison) of Russian noblewomen. Some entered the convent willingly, others were sent here - notably Sofia, the sister of Peter the Great whose withdrawal to the convent after her brother ended her regency was decidedly less than willing. (There are a couple of very dramatic paintings in the Tretyakov Gallery that portray these events). Presumabaly the nuns living there now, who have returned to the convent with the changes in Russia since the end if Communism, are there willingly.
Once inside there are beautiful churches, interesting exhibits in the museums that occupy some of the old living quarters of the convent and the lovely gardens to walk around. It isn't hard to imagine the past here.
Juat next to the Novodevichy Monastyr, there is the Novodevichy cimiter, which is the most important after the kremlin one.
Here infact rest many important personalities considered not important enough to be buried in Kremlin, some names are: Cechov, Gogol, Stanivslaskij, Raisa Gorbaciova and Mikhail Bulgakov.
The cimitery is opened every day since 9am to 6 pm.
The list of names of those buried in the cemetery beside the Novodevichy Convent reads like a Who's Who of Russian History. After the Kremlin wall, this is the most prestigious burial ground in Moscow. Writers, artists, composers, musicians, dancers, political leaders (and their wives) are all here. So too are ordinary Russians and there are usually a few people quietly attending to family graves as well as those who have come to pay homage at one of the more notable ones.
May 3 , 2005
On ne zasluzhil sveta , on zasluzhil pokoy...
( This is the grave of great Russian writer ( Master ) Mikhail Afanas`evich Bulgakov and his wife Elena Sergeevna Bulgakova at the day of his Birthday . The gravestone was taken from the grave of other great writer Nickolay Gogol` , resting in this cemetary too...)
The Novodevichy Convent (New Maiden) is one of the oldest religious complexes in the city. It consists of 15 buildings and 16 gilded domes dating from the 16th and 17 centuries. Grand Prince Vasily III founded the convent in 1514 to commemorate the capture of Smolensk from Lithuania. The convent was also one of the fortified monasteries surrounding Moscow. Its nuns were, as a rule, representatives of the supreme feudal nobility, among them were members of families of Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov, Peter I. Peter the great banished his half sister Sophia and his first wife Evdoka to the convent, forcing them to become nuns.
You enter the convent through the arched passageway topped by the Preobrazhensky Tserkov (Gate Church of the Transfiguration), widely considered one of the best examples of Moscow baroque. To your left as you enter is the ticket booth, where tickets are sold to the various exhibits housed in the convent.
Exhibits include rare and ancient Russian paintings, both ecclesiastical and secular; woodwork and ceramics; and fabrics and embroidery. There's also a large collection of illuminated and illustrated books, decorated with gold, silver, and jewels.
The building to your right is the Lophukin House, where Yevdokiya lived from 1727 to 1731. Sophia's prison, now a guardhouse, is to your far right, in a corner of the northern wall.
The main structure inside the convent is five-domed Sobor Smolenskoy Bogomateri (Cathedral of the Virgin of Smolensk), dedicated in 1525 and modeled after the Kremlin's Assumption Cathedral. Inside, there's a spectacular iconostasis with 84 wooden columns and icons dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. If you are lucky, you might catch a Russian Orthodox service in the church. Women should cover their heads before entering.
To the right of the cathedral is the Uspensky Tserkov (Church of the Assumption) and Refectory, originally built in 1687 and then rebuilt after a fire in 1796. It was here that nuns took their meals
This is one of the most beautiful convents in Moscow and its was founded in the early 16th century. Its main cathedral was consecrated in honour of the Smolenskaya Icon of the Mother of God Hodigitria. According to legend, the icon was painted by St. Luke himself, and it is closely linked with the convent's foundation.
This was the richest convent in Moscow. Its full name was formerly New Maiden Convent of the Immaculate Holy Virgin, Hodigitria to distinguish it from the Kremlin Ascension or Old Maiden Convent. Noblewomen of the time became novitiates in this convent, just as in the Old Maiden Convent - wives and widows of tsars and boyars, their daughters and sisters - and on taking the veil they handed over their jewels, pearls, gold and silver.
Sofia, half sister to Peter the Great took particular concern over the convent. Under her direction the wonderful bell-tower in the style of Moscow, or Naryshinsky, baroque was built. It was 72 metres high (232 feet), which at that time was the highest bell-tower in Moscow after the Ivan the Great tower.
Behind turreted walls on the Moscow River is a cluster of sparkling domes forming the Novodevichy Convent. It was founded in 1524 to celebrate the taking of Smolensk from Lithuania.
The red and white Moscow-baroque style Transfiguration Gate Church with 5 golden domes is the main building in the convent complex. The Smolensk Cathedral is modelled after the Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin.
Adjacent to the convent is the Novodevichy Cemetery, being the final resting place of famous personalities in Russian politics and culture eg. Prokofiev, Nadezhda Stalin, Raisa Gorbachev among others.
Novodevichi convent (monastery) is one of the oldest in Moscow. Several golden-domed churches and the famous cemetery nearby form an interesting complex and nice walking place. The day I visited it with a friend, the weaher was not really the best but at least rain stopped and we could walk.
On one side it turns to Moskva river. This monastery is known by one interesting historic fact. Princess Sophia, Peter the Great's older syster, prepared a "Strelets' upraisal". She was the head of warrier troops (strelets is shooter in English) who were intending to get young Peter out of the trone. But the uprisal was uppressed, and Sophia was imprisoned in Novodevichi convent. Streletses participants to uprisal were hanged on the monastery wall right near Sophia's room windows over Moskva river.
Novodevichy (New Maidens) Convent was founded by Basil III in 1524 to commemorate the capture of Smolensk from the Lithuanians. Only the Cathedral of the Virgin of Smolensk was built as this time, most of the other buildings were added during the reign of Peter the Great by his half sister, the Regent Sophia.
In 1689 when Peter the Great was 17 he deposed Sophia and locked her up in this convent for the rest of her life. He also confined his first wife here, allegedly for being a nag.
Napoleon's troops tried to blow up the convent but a popular legend says that the nuns snuffed out the fuses.
Please see my travelogue for some more pictures.
Let's get out of here for a little bit. I'm tired of talking about the Red Square.
Right, the Kremlin is just next to it & we should proceed there. But let's not do it this once. Kremlin will be another huge area to cover.
So, let's go somewhere more relaxing...
Some diversion is needed in life...
Moscow's suburbs can be pretty. Yes, pretty!
To the south of the city center, there are a few monasteries.
The one we passed by is the NOVODEVICHIY CONVENT.
It's truly beautiful... from what I can see outside.
What do you think?
It's beauty is unparallel! Just like a classical beauty.
Ever realised that some buildings are more "feminine" than others? Some have a beautiful soul... while others might be even "devilish".
Some are pure, simply delightful to be in.
While others have a dark side to it.
This one, though I didn't enter its compound, I could feel it's one of peace. Call it what you might, instinct, intuition.
Its history tells another story though.
This is another complex built to commenmorate the capture of a city, this time, Smolensk from the Lithuanians in 1524.
Founded by Basil III.
Most of the buildings were added on only in the 17th century by Regent Sophia (half-sister of Peter the Great).
The poor lady was confined here after her brother deposed her in 1689.
The Novodevitchy convent is a great stop for anyone who is either a little morbid, a history fan, or both. Peter the Great imprisioned both his first wife and his sister here (his wife just had to become a nun, but his sister, who was a political threat to him, was actually locked up, and the bodies of her supporters hung outside her window). And in the Novodevitchy Necropolis next door, some of Russia's most famous are buried, including Prokofiev, Eisenstein, Krushchev and Chekhov. The tombstones there are works of art.