With its red and white towers and gleaming gold domes rising up from the banks of the Moskva River, the Novodevichy complex paints a striking picture. Built in the 16th century, the UNESCO World Heritage Site includes the convent where Peter the Great imprisoned his sister Sophia. Its cemetery houses notable Russian figures.
To visit Novodevichy Convent, arrive independently, or see it with a group on a sightseeing tour of Moscow or from the water on a Moskva River cruise. There are eight different churches open to the public as part of the complex, most notably the Smolensk Cathedral and Church of the Assumption. Opt to explore with a guide to learn the convent’s role in Russia’s cultural and political history and appreciate its Russian Baroque-style architecture.
Afterwards take a stroll around the adjoining Novodevichy Cemetery (free entry), where you find the graves of writers Anton Chekhov and Nikolai Gogol, poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, and former Russian president Boris Yeltsin.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Admission includes access to all churches and buildings; the cemetery is free.
- There is a reduced admission fee while the complex undergoes renovations until 2021, and some of the churches will be closed.
- Dress modestly to visit Novodevichy, a working monastery. Women should cover the head and shoulders, while men should wear pants that cover the knees.
- Most parts of the convent are accessible to wheelchair users and strollers.
How to Get There
Novodevichy Convent is located in the Khamovniki District, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) southwest of downtown Moscow. The closest metro station is Sportivnaya metro station (Line 1), about a 10-minute walk away.
When to Get There
The Novodevichy complex and cemetery are open to visitors Wednesday through Monday from morning until evening, and the cathedrals have slightly shorter open hours. You can visit year-round, but Novodevichy is especially pleasant in summer when you can bring a picnic to enjoy by the lakeside in adjoining Novodevichy Park.
Moscow’s Churches and Cathedrals
Beyond Novodevichy, Moscow’s skyline is dotted with golden domes and church spires. St. Basil’s Cathedral is the most famous, with its boldly patterned domes standing proud over the Red Square, and it can be visited alongside Kazan Cathedral across the square. There’s also Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, with its snow-white façade and gold domes; Cathedral of the Assumption, part of the Kremlin complex; and neo-Gothic Moscow Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral.