Novodevichy monastery is located 4 km southwest of the Kremlin. It was founded in 1524 by Grand Prince Vasily 3d in memory of the conquest of Smolensk in 1514.
During his reign was built great five-domed Smolensk cathedral – modeled after the Assumption cathedral in the Kremlin.
In 1598 the monastery became a place of proclamation of the Muscovite tsar Boris Godunov. Here took the veil his sister Irina – widow of tsar Fedor Ivanovich. During the reign of Boris Godunov, the monastery was surrounded with walls and towers.
The heyday of the monastery fell at the end of 17 century, during the reign of princess Sophia. At that time were built a large refectory, bell tower and other buildings.
In 1689 in the monastery was imprisoned disgraced princess Sofia – a sister of Peter. She lived here until her death (1704).
Near the monastery situated Novodevichy cemetery, founded in the early 20 century. In Soviet times it was the second prestigious state cemetery (after the cemetery near the Kremlin wall). Here are buried many famous statesmen and masters of culture.