Novodevichy convent - one of the most beautiful monasteries of Moscow, today belongs to the Historical Museum. But the services in the temples are also held. As it is often found in the capital - in one place the historical heritage in the form of a museum part and a spiritual component coexist harmoniously. In addition to all this, it is very pleasant to be on the territory of the monastery, to walk and to contemplate.
This monastery was built in 1524 by Grand Duke Vasily III on a vow in honor of the return of ancient Smolensk to the Moscow principality. And they consecrated the monastery in the name of the miraculous Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God. About why the monastery is called Novodevichy, there is no unanimity. According to one version, on the site of the monastery there used to be a field where the most beautiful Moscow girls were chosen and sent them as a tribute to the Golden Horde. On the other - the first abbess of the monastery was called Devochkin. And the third version - the most probable one - that the monastery was meant for the girls, and the prefix "new" appeared to distinguish it from another female monastery that was in the Kremlin itself.
At one time it was the richest and most privileged monastery in Russia. He received notable women who sacrificed jewelry for the tonsure - pearls, gold, silver. In the XVII century. Formed a magnificent ensemble of the monastery in the Moscow Baroque style. The towers adorned the openwork crowns, the bell tower was erected (the second in Moscow in height after Ivan the Great), the refectory and the Assumption Church appeared. In the course of the history, there appeared in the Novodevichy Convent and guests who did not voluntarily cross the threshold of the monastery. At different times, the boyars of Morozov were kept in custody here, Peter I imprisoned Tsarevna Sophia, who did not want to yield to her brother's throne, and shortly before her death, Evdokia Fyodorovna Lopukhina, the first wife of Peter the Great, was transferred here.
During the Patriotic War of 1812, the monastery miraculously escaped death. According to legend, the nuns at the last moment managed to extinguish the wicks that led to the powder kegs, lit by the retreating army of Napoleon, and extinguished the fire that had begun in the monastery.
In 1922 the monastery was closed and the Museum of Emancipation of the Woman was built here, later it was transformed into a historical and everyday museum and an art museum "Novodevichy Monastery". The museum collection includes ancient Russian painting, icons, 16th-20th century fabrics, precious metal and stone products, a documentary collection consisting of documents from the monastery archive, a library of manuscripts and early printed books, as well as the richest sacristy of the monastery (input icons, liturgical objects And vestments). In the main, Smolensk Cathedral, preserved a valuable mural wall paintings of the XVI century. And a magnificent carved iconostasis with icons of famous royal masters of that time.
Novodevichye cemetery is a special attraction of the monastery. It is divided into "old" (on the territory of the monastery itself) and "new" - fenced off from the monastery by a wall. The latter appeared in 1898-1904. And expanded during the Soviet era, becoming the second place in the capital by the degree of honor after burials near the Kremlin wall. Here are buried Chekhov, Gogol, ST Aksakov, II Levitan, actress Lyubov Orlova, Khrushchev, Boris Yeltsin. No less famous are the authors of tombstones - Vrubel, Mukhina, Vuchetich, Anikushin.