Novodevichy Convent, Moscow, Russia

Novodevichy Convent, also known as Bogoroditse-Smolensky Monastery, is the best-known cloister of Moscow and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, situated in the south-western part of the historic town of Moscow at the crossing of the Moscow River. Unlike other Moscow cloisters, it has remained virtually intact since the 17th century.



The convent was built in the 16th and 17th centuries in the so-called Moscow baroque style by Grand Duke Vasily III in the 1520s and was part of a chain of monastic ensembles that were integrated into the defence system of the city. The convent was directly associated with the political, cultural and religious history of Russia, and closely linked to the Moscow Kremlin.

The ensemble, which is an outstanding example of Orthodox architecture, consists of 14 buildings, including 8 cathedrals (a shrine, 4 churches, a belfry with the Barlaam and Josaphat church and two chapels) and a number of residential and service buildings. The monastery is sometimes called "the Moscow Kremlin in miniature". Its oldest building is a stone cathedral dedicated to the Icon of the Mother God of Smolensk built in 1524-1525 after the fashion of the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin.

It was used by women of the Tsar's family and the aristocracy. Members of the Tsar's family and entourage were also buried in its cemetery. The convent provides an example of the highest accomplishments of Russian architecture with rich interiors and an important collection of paintings and artefacts.