Besides the world-famous Novodevichy Convent (a UNESCO World Heritage site), there are many unique monasteries in Moscow, many of which lie in the city center (Novodevichy, coincidentally, is one of the furthest from downtown Moscow). Because, historically, the Moscow monasteries were less subject to reconstruction or redevelopments, they are able to preserve medieval culture and some of the oldest architectural feats in the entire city. Some of them still hold services: the Vysoko-Petrovsky, Donskoy, Danilovsky, Novospassky, and the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent. Others are no longer active, like the Andronikov and Bogoyavlensky monasteries, but are still incredibly culturally important.
As a rule of thumb, most tourists to Moscow visit only the Novodevichy Convent, as it’s listed in every guidebook.
We are trying to enrich and expand the experiences of our travelers in this area, and, fortunately, there are some great options. The Marfo-Mariinsky, or Martha and Mary, Convent is unique in its relative modernity of architecture and design. The Vysoko-Petrovsky, which commands a hill just 1.5 kilometers from the Kremlin, is a unique example of the Naryshkin Baroque style of architecture. Groups of Old Believers preserving their special traditions and way of life are concentrated in the Moscow communities of Rogozhskaya and Preobrazhenskaya.
A visit to a Moscow monastery can be far more than just some stories about Orthodox saints and architecture. On our excursions, we might drink tea with the monks in a monastery’s refectory or meet with restorers to learn more about their work.
Below are some of Moscow’s most important monasteries.