According to the legend, once there was a field in Moscow whereon which Mongols and Tatars from Golden Horde selected girls to take away with themselves as a tribute. This is when the name Maiden field takes its roots. In 1524 the prince Vasily III, to celebrate the capture of Smolensk, allocated 230 kg of silver for the construction of New Maiden’s Convent ( Novodevichiy Convent) that became the main female monastery of Moscow.
The Smolensk Cathedral, the main cathedral of the Convent, was built within one year, the first service was given there on 28 July 1525. In 1598, Boris Godunov was declared a tsar here and he ordered to build stone walls like those of the Kremlin around the monastery. Cog walls connecting 12 towers were finished soon. Thus, the monastery turned into a fortress, was passed from hands to hands during Vague time, and was finally burnt.
Quickly enough the monastery was restored, and began to take tonsuring by noble women of Moscow. Many of them refused their wealth in favour of a monastery and became nuns. But for many representatives of Russian nobility the Novodevichiy Convent became prison. So, for example, in 1689 the princess Sofia was enjailed here, and after half a century it sheltered disgraced czarina Eudoxia Lopukhina.
An arresting slender belltower was built in the end of 17th century to a height of 72 metres, which made it the highest building in Moscow.
Necropolis that was built in 1548 after the death of the first prior Elena takes an important place in Novodevichiy Convent. The territory of the Monastery was used for tombs of nuns and the female representatives of the imperial family. Later, scientists, poets and writers and other outstanding persons were also buried here. On the threshold of the 20th century it was decided to extend the territory of the Novodevichiy Convent cemetery and it outlimited the boundaries of the monastery.
In 1922, with the rise of the Soviet power, the Novodevichiy monastery was closed, and a new museum complex appeared on its territory. At first, it was the Museum of the Liberated Woman, then it hosted the historical, art and household museum named Novodevichiy Convent, later the whole territory was used as the branch of the State Historical Museum. After the collapse of the USSR, in 1994, the monastic community was restored, though the museum complex remained.
Today Novodevichiy monastery is included in UNESCO world heritage list and is one of the most beautiful monastic ensembles of Russia. Thousands of piligrims and tourists visit it annually, and the monastery is still operating as a museum.
There is a belief that appeared just recently. One TV program told about the miraculous effect of one of the towers that is called Naprudnaya, also known as Sofyinskaya. Believers come to it, touch and pray. Some write sacred desires on it. And those who want to have children come here to pray and take a piece of the tower decoration with themselves. As a result, the bottom part of a wall should be repaired constantly. During your tour to Novodevichiy Convent, do not forget to visit the tower – to make a wish. What if it comes true?!