Novodevichy Convent in Moscow

Near the tube station ‘Sportivnaya’ one of the most famous Moscow sights is located – Novodevichy Convent. It was built by the tsar Vasili III in 1524.

The full name of the convent is the Novodevichy Convent of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God. It was devoted to the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God (Hodegetria), and was built by the tsar in honor of reannexing the city of Smolensk to the Russian State in 1514. Until that time the Russian city of Smolensk was under the dominion of Polish and Lithuanian Principality for about a hundred years.

Almost since the time of its foundation Novodevichy Convent was intended for nuns who were the members of tsar`s family only in the immediate past. The nuns of this convent were the relatives of tsars Ivan the Terrible, Fyodor I and Boris Godunov.

Boris Godunov was crowned at Novodevichy Convent. It was just in his time that the convent not only received the court status but also became a powerful fortress. In 1591 the convent was surrounded by strong walls, which survived to our time.

In XVII century the convent wasn’t only the place where the royalties lived as nuns, but also a prison. So, after the Streltsy revolt of 1689, Sophia, the sister of Peter I was forced to nuns and imprisoned there.

Smolensk Cathedral is in the center of the convent. It was modeled by the Assumption Cathedral of Moscow Kremlin. It is surrounded by nuns` dwellings and churches, as well as 6-tier belfry.