The Novodevichy (New Maiden) Convent, also known as Bogoroditse-Smolensky Monastery, is situated in the south-western part of the historic town of Moscow, close to the Moscow River. The Convent territory is enclosed within walls and surrounded by a park, which forms the buffer zone. The park is limited by the urban fabric of the city on the north and east sides. On the west side, it is limited by the Moscow River, and on the south side there is an urban freeway. The north-west shore of the lake offers picturesque panoramas that are important for the perception of the ensemble. The convent dates back from the l6th century (1524) when it was founded by Tsar Vasily III as a means to commemorate the Muscovitc-Lithuanian War through which the Russians managed to capture the city of Smolensk from Lithuania. The construction was meant to serve both as a religious site and as a fortification. The original structure did not survive the passage of time, so the building that stands before the beholder dates from a later period, more exactly from the 16805. This marks the year when the monastery was subjected to massive restoration work.
The monastic complex comprises several churches The most relevant one is the Cathedral ol' the Virgin ol' Smnlensk. 'l his follows the architectural style of the Cathedral of Assumption, located in Kremlin, and consists of five colossal domes, an outstanding icoriostasts which comprises 84 wooden piers, to which are added l6th and l7th century icons The Church of Assumption is located to the right of the aforementioned cathedral and the Church of St. Ambrose is located at the hack The Cate-Church of Trasigtlration is situamd at the entrance nf the convent and it is representative for the Moscow Baroque architectural design. The southern gate is guarded’ by the Gate-Church nf the Intercession, an edifice consisting of three cupolas and a red and white facade, The Bell Tower (1683-90) is 72 m high in tive tiers, It is built from red brick in Moscow Baroque style, using white-stone decorative elements, The convent has a number of residential and service buildings, many along the walls.
The Necropolis of the Convent was initiated in the l6th century. The cathedral served as burial place for women ofthe tsarist and ruling families. The cemetery around the cathedral was used Tor nobility and honourable citizens. ln l898-1904, a new cemetery was established outside the south wall, a burial place ol' Lhe most eminent Russian intellectuals, and pnlitreei and nniitary figures. After thc October Revolution, in l922, the Convent was closed, and it became the ‘Museum of emancipation of woman’ lt was later reorganised as thc historical and art museum of "The Novodevichy Convent’. At present this is atiiliated to the State Historical Museum of Kremlin Since l980 Novodevieh Convent is a residence ofa Metropolitan, and in 1994 a nunnery has again been introduced there. In 2004, it was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.