Novodevichy Convent was founded in 1525 by the Great Prince Basil III. That was the promise he had given: to establish a monastery in honor of Smolenskaya icon of the Virgin on condition that Smolensk was freed from the Lithuanians. A special place was chosen for the erection of the building.
That was Devichy meadow, called like that after a tatar tradition to choose girls to be taken to servitude. Aleviz Novy was the one who designed the main cathedral of the Monastery.
In different epochs different parts of the Monastery were erected: majestic walls and towers in the times of Boris Godunov, the Pokrova of the Virgin Church and Uspensky Cathedral - at the end of the XVII century. Monastery walls and towers got their modern appearance in tsarevna Sophia`s reign.
At the same period the five-headed Preobrzhenskaya Church with a bell-tower was built. Originally the bell-tower was planned to be built eight-tiered. But the erection of the tower was stopped when it contained only six tiers and was 73 meters high.
Unfortunately the name of its creator didn`t remain till our times, but Bazhenov and Bove, outstanding Russian architects, considered it the most beautiful and imposing bell-tower in Moscow.
The Convent is widely known since some members (sisters and wives) of the tsar`s family have become nuns there. One of them was Irina Godunova, tsar Feodor`s widow, who managed to elevate her brother Boris Godunov to the throne. Peter I`s wife Evdokiya was among them. Also Peter I`s sister Sophia, who was overthrown and made to take the veil after strelets` riots had been suppressed.
The Monastery was abolished in the twenties. And in the thirties a branch of the State History Museum occupied the building. In 1944 Uspensky Cathedral was given to the orthodox community. At the same time Moscow Theological academy and seminary moved to the monastery.
In 1994 the restoration of the monkhood of Novodevichy Monastery began. Since then divine services has been taking place at Uspensky cathedral.
Address: 1, Novodevichiy pr-d., Moscow
Phones: (095)246-29-05, 246-8526