Photographer's Note

One of the many churches and building inside the
Novodevichy Convent.

The Novodevichy Convent, also known as Bogoroditse-
Smolensky Monastery (Russian: Новоде́вичий монасты́рь,
Богоро́дице-Смоле́нский монасты́рь) is probably the
best-known cloister of Moscow. Its name, sometimes
translated as the New Maidens' Monastery, was devised
to differ from an ancient maidens' convent in the
Moscow Kremlin. Unlike other Moscow monasteries, it
has remained virtually intact since the 17th century.
In 2004, it was proclaimed the World Heritage Site.

The Novodevichy Convent was founded in 1524 by Grand
Prince Vasili III in commemoration of the conquest of
Smolensk in 1514. It was built as a fortress at a
curve of the Moskva River and became an important part
of the southern defensive belt of the capital.

The Novodevichy Convent was known to have sheltered
many ladies from the Russian royal families and boyar
clans, who had been forced to take the veil, such as
Feodor I's wife Irina Godunova (she was there with her
brother Boris Godunov until he became a ruler
himself), Sophia Alekseyevna (Peter the Great's
sister), Eudoxia Lopukhina (Peter the Great's first
wife), and others. In 1610–1611, the Novodevichy
Convent was captured by a Polish unit under the
command of Aleksander Gosiewski. Once the cloister was
liberated, the tsar supplied it with permanent guards
(100 Streltsy in 1616, 350 soldiers in 1618). By the
end of the 17th century, the Novodevichy Convent had
already possessed 36 villages (164,215 desyatinas of
land) in 27 uyezds of Russia. In 1744, it owned 14,489

In 1812, Napoleon's army made an attempt to blow up
the convent, but the nuns managed to save the cloister
from destruction.

In 1922, the Bolsheviks closed down the Novodevichy
Convent (the cathedral was the last to be closed, in
1929) and turned it into the Museum of Woman's
Emancipation. By 1926, the monastery had been
transformed into a history and art museum. In 1934, it
was affiliated with the State Historical Museum.

In 1994, nuns returned to the convent, which is
currently under the authority of the Metropolitan of
Krutitsy and Kolomna. Some of the churches and other
monastic buildings are still affiliated with the State
Historical Museum. In 1995, they resumed service in
the convent on patron saint's days.


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Additional Photos by Txxx Bxxx (thor68) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 760 W: 151 N: 919] (5586)
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