Novodevichiy Convent, Moscow, Russia

As one of the most important convents in Russia, Novodevichy’s location is special as it is set on a bend of the Moscow River's upstream from the Kremlin. The park is commemorated to a field where during the days of the Mongol yoke it is said that virgin girls were gathered before they were sent away as part of the city’s tribute to the Khan of the Golden Horde. Effectively sold into slavery, these unfortunate “devichi” or maidens, according to the legend, guaranteed the city’s survival during this difficult period.

After the Mongols were finally evicted by Grand Prince Ivan III the Great from the woodlands of what is today central Russia, the Muscovites faced a new enemy from the west, the Lithuanians. In 1514, Grand Prince Vasili III, son of Ivan the Great, had carried the war to the Lithuanian frontiers and as he stood on the very walls of this important city, he vowed to God that if he and his men were allowed to take this strategic fortress, he would build a great and important convent in his capital.

As a result ground was broken on a new convent located at the Maiden Field. Built like a colorful fortress in the woods, Vasili called this new religious site “Novodevichy” or New Maiden Convent.

Over the years, Novodevichy would become an extremely important cloister, particularly during the reign of Peter the Great - this Tsar exiled both his ambitious half-sister and regent Sophia, and his overly conservative first wife Eudoxia within its walls. Upon his withdrawal from Moscow, Napoleon Bonaparte intended that the structure be destroyed, but Novodevichy’s nuns bravely prevented the Grande Armee’s engineers from setting off the charges that would have brought the convent down. In the Soviet period, the religious building was converted into both a branch of the State Historical Museum and private apartments, moves that prevented authorities from demolishing the original structure.

Tourists today still find plenty to see at Novodevichy. Beyond the five-golden-domed structure housing, the Our Lady of Smolensk icon, the central point of the original convent, there are a number of churches on the grounds: Transfiguration, Holy Virgin, St. Amvrosi, and the Refectory. A 72-meter-tall bell tower built by Sophia, Peter the Great’s sister, dominates the convent grounds even today, which are home to Russia’s most famous burial place, the Novodevichy Cemetery (the final resting place of leading Imperial, Communist, and post-Communist officials, principal cultural figures, and other leaders of Russian society since 1898).
Novodevichiy Convent, Moscow, Russia
Novodevichiy Convent, Moscow, Russia

See it on following tours

Rating:
4.94
4.944833923042323
Definitive Treasures of Two Capitals

Definitive Treasures of Two Capitals

11 days / Private tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg

Cross Russia off your bucket list with the ultimate private itinerary, built around your preferences. Enjoy all the unmissable sights with local pros, stay at best 5-star central hotels, private transfers, free visas, and plenty of free time to explore on your own.

Rating: 4.93
From
$4,212
Treasures of Two Capitals

Premium Treasures of Two Capitals

Moscow Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Treat yourself to an outstanding experience of Moscow & St. Petersburg with our 5-star small group tour in Russia. An enhanced itinerary of our signature tour with luxury central hotels & extra tours

Rating: 5.00
From
$3,950
Classic Moscow & St. Petersburg

Classic Treasures of Two Capitals

Moscow Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Unmatched in convenience and price, this 5-star program takes you through main highlights of Russian capitals in our signature style: best guides, downtown hotels & seamless logistics

Rating: 4.95
From
$2,848
Treasures of Two Russian Capitals (5-star)

Premium Treasures of Two Capitals

9 days / Private tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Our private tour of Russia's Moscow & St. Petersburg covers all major highlights in a completely carefree fashion. As always offering top-notch quality and service throughout.
Rating: 4.98
From
$4,200
Treasures of Two Russian Capitals (4-star)

Classic Treasures of Two Capitals

9 days / Private tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg

Travel to Moscow and St. Petersburg with our hallmark private tour to Russia, stay at best hand-picked 5-star hotels and enjoy a fully-customizable itinerary with tours with local guides, included Russian visas, and airport transfers.

Rating: 5.00
From
$3,150
Platinum Russia

Platinum Russia

11 days / Private tour
Moscow Saint Petersburg
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Be treated like royalty discovering Moscow and St. Petersburg with the best 5-star hotels, thoroughly designed tours, Russian visas, 1st class train tickets and transfers included in our 5+ star luxury tour
Rating: 5.00
From
$7,998
Treasures of Two Capitals + Golden Ring

Treasures of Two Capitals + Golden Ring

11 days / Private tour
Moscow Suzdal Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS See Russia at its best with the customizable private tour program of Moscow, St. Petersburg and the historic Golden Ring towns.

Rating: 4.98
From
$4,196
Volga Dream Gold Moscow - St. Petersburg

Volga Dream Gold Moscow - St. Petersburg

13 days / 5-star cruise
Moscow Uglich Yaroslavl Kizhi Island Saint Petersburg

Set sail on the Volga Dream Gold cruise and see the best of genuine Russia.

Rating: 4.99
From
$4,495
Russian Ancient Kingdoms

Russian Ancient Kingdoms

Moscow Sergiev Posad Suzdal Saint Petersburg
COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Combine your premium experience of Moscow & St. Petersburg with a visit to the heart of ancient Russia, the Golden Ring. Bimonthly guaranteed departures.
Rating: 4.93
From
$3,468
Moscow Classic

Moscow Classic

6 days / Private tour
Moscow

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS A fully-fledged 6-day private vacation with a maximum zoom on Moscow. Travel and explore the heritage of Moscow with our custom tour package

Rating: 4.84
From
$1,997
Volga Dream Platinum Moscow - St. Petersburg

Volga Dream Platinum Moscow - St. Petersburg

13 days / 5-star cruise
Moscow Uglich Yaroslavl Kizhi Island Saint Petersburg

Get inspired by the beauty of authentic Russian Volga River towns with the Platinum Volga Dream program.

Rating: 4.99
From
$5,595
Wonders of Russia

Wonders of Russia

13 days / Private tour
Moscow Irkutsk Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Explore the most incredible places in Russia and discover the best of Moscow, Irkutsk, St. Petersburg and the gorgeous Pearl of Siberia - Lake Baikal.

Rating: 4.88
From
$4,998
Definitive Russia 16-day Tour

Definitive Russia

16 days / Private tour
Moscow Sergiev Posad Suzdal Vladimir Saint Petersburg Kizhi Island
Craving for an in-depth exploration of Russia? This private Russian itinerary is what you've been looking for: included Russian visas, best hotels, top guided tours of the Golden Ring, Karelia region, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Rating: 4.89
From
$5,914
UNESCO Tour

UNESCO Tour

13 days / Private tour
Moscow Suzdal Yaroslavl Kazan Saint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Set off on an outstanding 13-day tour dedicated to Russia's top UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Moscow to Kazan to Saint Petersburg.

Rating: 4.80
From
$4,881