Novodevichy Cemetery is one of the most famous cemeteries in Moscow.
Many people would find it weird to visit a cemetery when in Moscow but the Novodevichy Cemetery comes highly recommended. Located next to the Southern Wall of the famous Novodevichy Convent, it is one of Moscow’s most famous tourist attractions. I have a fascination with cemeteries and this was one of the most beautiful and peaceful cemeteries that I have visited.It stirs up a lot of emotions when you walk through the cemetery. Andrey felt overwhelmed to see his favourite idols up close, almost life-like. It is especially beautiful in spring and summer, with plants, flowers and green grass everywhere.
Burials at the Novodevichy Cemetery in the times of the Soviets.
Only the elite got buried at the Novodevichy cemetery. It was second in prestige only to burial in the Kremlin wall. The people who are buried here, includes some of Russia’s most famous poets, musicians, sport people, playwrights, scientists, political and military leaders and authors.
The famous Russian writer Nikolay Gogol (relocated), Fyodor Shalyapin (Opera singer), Anton Chekov (writer and playwright) and my favourite actor, Yuri Nikulin, rest here.
It is interesting to note that the only Soviet leader that was buried here is Nikita Krushchev. Soviet leaders are laid to rest alongside the Kremlin wall. Why did they bury Krushchev at the Novodevichy cemetery? Well, this rule applied to leaders who died in office. Krushchev, removed from power in 1964, was denied a state funeral seven years later when he died.
Boris Yeltsin is the first president of the Russian Federation buried here and in 2007.
History of the Novodevichy Cemetery.
The Novodevichy Convent was founded in 1525 by Tsar Vasily III to mark the capture the city Smolensk from Lithuania. The convent played a very important role in the history of Moscow. It guarded the Southern outskirts of Moscow. Noble woman took refuge in the convent during war. It served as a prison for Royals who misbehaved.
During this time the cemetery opened adjacent to the grounds of the convent. It became a burial place for nobles, church officials and feudal lords.
First time visit to the Novodevichy Cemetery.
I really wanted to visit the cemetery when we were in Moscow. Everything is in English and it complicates matters, especially if you cannot read the Cyrillic Script. I haven´t seen any guide books in English but somebody did mention on Tripadvisor that they sell guidebooks at the ticket office. The entrance is for free and I am not sure what ticket office they referred to.
I personally recommend a guided tour. The guides know the important monuments to point out and will tell a little history about each person. If you don´t want to take a guided tour, stroll the gardens and cemetery, admire the monuments and enjoy the tranquility.
Do not confuse the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow with one in Saint Petersburg.
How to get to the Novodevichy Cemetery.
Take the metro to Sportivnaya on the red line. Walk east, that is with the Moscow University building over your left shoulder, for about a hundred yards until you come to Lyzhnitsky Proezd, then look to your left, down towards the Third Ring Road, which will be between you and the stadium. The cemetery entrance is about 50 yards up from that road.