Novodevichy Convent Cemetry
At a bend on the river, in a tranquil suburb of Moscow, the entire complex of the 400-year-old Novodevichy Convent, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is open to visitors. The Convent’s leafy gardens are a pleasure to stroll in during the summer months and a welcome retreat of calm and serenity from the hustle and bustle of the city.
rnThe cemetery is divided into two sections – old and new. The ‘old’ is within the Convent grounds, and outside the walls is the ‘new’ section. It became a traditional resting place for church dignitaries, noble families and prominent military, public and cultural figures.
rnMany familiar Russian and Soviet names can be found on the gravestones, which include memorials by celebrated Russian sculptors. Chekhov and Gogol were some of the first to be laid to rest here in 1904, followed by writers Mayakovsky and Bulgakov, artists Serov and Levitan, theatrical directors Nemirovich-Danchenko and Stanislavsky, composers Shostokovich and Scriabin, the architect of Lenin’s Mausoleum, Shchusev, and the famous art collectors Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov.
rnNikita Krushchev, the only Soviet leader not to be buried at the Kremlin, was given a famous memorial tombstone representing the ambiguity of his time in office; and here you’ll also find Raisa Gorbacheva as well as Joseph Stalin’s second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, whose headstone people felt moved to vandalize in demonstration of their feelings towards her scandalous behaviour.