Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery is one of the more interesting places we visited in Moscow. Built in the 16th and 17th centuries, it had close ties to the Kremlin and is interwoven in Russia’s political, cultural, and religious history. Novodevichy is Russia’s only convent that served as both an ancient nunnery and a fortress. Today it is a working religious institution, tourist destination, and its New Cemetery is considered one of the most prestigious in the city.
It was the women who came here to “take the veil” that fascinated us the most. From the 16th-18th centuries, women from the tsarist dynasty, as well as other wealthy and nobility families, were sent here to “retire” and for their protection, many against their will.
Novodevichy features eight cathedrals and six residential or service buildings. The Novodevichy ensemble was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in 2004.
- Located in the south-western side of the city, Novodevichy Convent is easily accessible via the Moscow Metro.
- Dress respectfully if you are planning to enter any of the churches, women should have head and shoulders covered, while men should wear long pants.
- Hours vary and can change on any given day. The museum is generally open to the public from 9am to 5pm, and the grounds from 7am to 7pm. However, it is best to check before you go.
- We found the Lonely Planet Moscow to be very helpful while in Moscow.
- If you want more history, check out this article from Moscow.Info.
(We visited Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery back in 2012 when we went around the world. I have thousands of photos from our travels. I had only published one from Novodevichy back then, so I am sharing more of our favorites plus the history now).
Have you been to the Novodevichy Convent?
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