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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Novodevichy Convent, Moscow, Russia

Located on the banks of the Moscow river, this is where Russians sent their troublesome women for centuries.  The Novodevichy Convent was founded by Grand Duke Vasily III in the 1520s to mark the liberation of Smolensk and returning it to the Russian State in 1514. The Convent was dedicated to the Icon of the Mother God of Smolensk ‘Hodigitria', the highest shrine of Russian orthodoxy.  It also became one of the most respected and rich nunneries, joined by women of tsarist  families--and sometimes they were sent there against their will.

The end of the 16th century was active for the Convent related with the coronation of Boris Godunov, and his sister Tsarina Irina taking monastic votes. This is the period for the construction of the surrounding stone walls with towers. Toward the end of the 17th century, there was another period, which resulted in the construction of new buildings. During this period, Princess Sofia Alekseevna assisted her brother Fedor to govern the country. After his death she continued to govern for seven more years. She was later confined there by Peter the Great, along with his unwanted first wife. The walls and towers were now rebuilt, partly using the old masonry, and decorated with elaborate crowns in red brick, reflecting the ‘Moscow baroque' style. 

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