DONSKOY MONASTERY Moscow
We were finally in Moscow and first on our list was a visit to the Donskoy Monastery, not very far from where we were staying. The monastery is situated in a picturesque suburb of Moscow with lots of trees. Spring was in the air and beautiful Tulips in bloom. It was indeed the prefect day for sightseeing and we didn’t want to miss a thing.
At first it was difficult to find the entrance to the Monastery and we walked for quite some time around massive defense walls. Along the way we saw ruins of lookout towers and stopped to take photos. I couldn’t believe how big these walls were!
Finally we saw golden crosses glistening brightly in the sun and we knew we were close. When you enter the premises you will immediately see the church that is called “The New Cathedral”. A more peaceful place is difficult to find and you have to pinch yourself that you are actually in Moscow City. Special places for prayers and Religious Icons were scattered in the garden. More about the Cathedral later.
It was not permitted to take photos inside the church, so we put the cameras away and went inside.
HISTORY OF DONSKOY MONASTERY
Donskoy Monastery has a very interesting history. Legend has it that the Russian Army was awaiting an impending attack by the Tartars whose troops were gathered on the other side of the river. One morning when the Russians awoke they found that all the troops had left. There was not a single soldier in sight. They considered this to be a miracle and Boris Godunov immediately requested that a monastery to be built to commemorate the victory.
The Monastery was symbolically named in honor of a wonder-working icon of the Virgin of the Don. It is believed that Prince Dimitry Donskoy carried this Icon during his war against the Tartans in 1380 – the first time the Russians beat the Tartans.
I have mentioned before about the high defense walls. There are 12 lookout towers and these walls were the last fortifications built in Moscow, making this monastery the youngest in Moscow. There are two Cathedrals on the premises. The older Cathedral was built between 1591 and 1593 in the time of Boris Godunov and the New Cathedral was built by the half-sister of Peter the Great in the 17th century. The Icon of the Virgin of the Don can be seen looking down at you when entering the Cathedral.
When the plaque broke out in Moscow in 1771, Catherine the Great, forbade any burials in the city and The Donskoy Monastery became a very popular burial place for intellectuals, poets, aristocrats and politicians. It was in this cemetery that we took a walk.
As an English speaking person it was very difficult to understand who was buried here because everything was written in Russian and the cemetery was also very old with inscriptions fading on the tomb stones. I didn’t`t see any signs in English. Andrey doesn’t`t like cemeteries and her refused to walk with me. I walked around for a while but eventually gave up because I didn’t know what I was looking for.
Famous people buried in the cemetery
Faina Ranevskaya, Vasily Blyukher, Alexander Ilyich Yegorov,Pyotr Baranovsky, Sergei Khudyakov, Grigory Kulik, Mikhail Astangov and Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov, to name a few.
Sadly the Soviets have left their mark on this monastery and like so many other monasteries in Russia, was stripped from valuables and important and historical documents destroyed.
Address: Донская ул., д.1-3, Moscow, Russia, 115419
Phone: +7 495 952-49-01
Where: Moscow, Russian Federation.
When: 17 May 2012