Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall Reflections at Novodevichy

When I arrived in Moscow on September 1st to stunningly cold and rainy weather, I was almost certain the only season that exists here is Winter. With a capital "W." And maybe a capital "-INTER" as well. Perhaps I've been softened by the years I spent in Houston, but in my defense, even the locals acknowledged the early chill.

I love fall and all it's festivities: Michigan football, the changing leaves, cider mills and homemade doughnuts, the scent of the fresh chilled air, boots and sweaters...the thought that perhaps I'd missed it completely was a bit much. I haven't been granted the gift of football (it's still on at 3:30 am) or cider mills, but Moscow did give me a taste of the season I so dearly love this week. I seized the opportunity for some time outdoors and spent a considerable amount of my Autumn (by which I mean one late afternoon/evening) at one of the sights on my Moscow Bucket List...Novodevichy Monastery.
Novodevichy Monastery in Fall

Gates of Novodevichy Monastery Moscow

Novodevichy Monastery Moscow

Founded in 1524, Novodevichy is now an official World Heritage sight and has some pretty stunning scenery to add to its equally fascinating history. Tolstoy fans will have read references to it in both War and Peace and Anna Karenina as the happening skating rink of the 19th century was located in the meadow directly in front of the convent.

Novodevichy Reflection Moscow

Novodevichy Cathedral Moscow

Angel Monument Novodevichy Moscow

Novodevichy Reflecting Pond Moscow

Novodevichy became the home and shelter for several women of the Russian royals, though not by choice. Sophia Alekseyevna, regent and ruler of Russia for 7 years (while her brothers who were the official rulers came of age), commissioned the octagon bell tower pictured below in addition to overseeing a serious renovation of the convent in the 1680's. I won't get into the details of her fascinating and terrifying history but, for the opera lovers out there, her rule is the historical foundation for the plot of Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina. After her brother Peter took over (her political opposition), she was forced to take the veil and lived in Novodevichy, completely isolated save for Easter day.

Novodevichy Bell Tower Moscow

Novodevichy Bell Tower Moscow

I love the views within the convent, and the museums are definitely worth a vist, but my favorite? The stroll alongside the pond, complete with some fall foliage, sunshine, always...people watching!

Novodevichy Reflection Pool Moscow

Fall in Moscow

Fisherman at Novodevichy Moscow


  1. I love reading about all your adventures and must say that I'm very impressed that you're learning to speak Russian. Who does that? Stephanie, that's who.

  2. Such a beautiful sight. (the man with the fishing pole mainly) I am also going to say, right next to your piano profession, you could become a pro blogger. So eloquent and funny and great photography. PLUS, your cover picture with you in France is truly fantastic. Alright, enough complements for one comment box. Love ya!

  3. Your pictures are stunning! Great camera! And so much fun history to learn about! I think it all looks so exciting and picturesque from here..but put me in a place where chocolate chips are no where to be found-and I may feel very differently! You are brave and I think that this adventure will be so so rewarding! (once you find a way to perfect your cookies that is :) I love you and miss you and love love reading your blog!


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