Peace and tranquility were words at the forefront of my mind while visiting the Novospassky Monastery (Новоспасский монастырь) in the midst of absolutely perfect weather–definitely one of the few times I can say that since I’ve arrived in Moscow.
The air smelled cleaner and the low number of visitors within its relatively empty walls gave the place a certain charm not noticed while succumbing to the rampant hustle and bustle of city life taking place just minutes away, toward the center.
Being one of the many fortified monasteries that surround Moscow from the south-east, this one in particular was originally located inside the Kremlin when it was constructed in the 14th century, and later moved to its current location on the left bank of the Moskva River in 1491 by order of Ivan the Great.
A significant overhaul of the monastery, which included the construction of a thick stone wall and seven solid bastions, was completed under the rule of Mikhail Romanov when he became Tsar in 1612. Of course, these structures took on a more sinister appearance when they were used as a prison (like many other churches and monasteries in Russia) during the glorious Soviet era.
After also being converted into a police drunk tank and then later being assigned to an art restoration institute, it was finally returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1991.
Today, any ominous mood has all but dissolved, a fact evident by the upkeep of beautiful gardens in which young children and the elderly alike can be seen moving about, snapping photos by statues and practicing the rituals of their faith in serenity.
Inside, no photos are allowed and of course women are encouraged, if not required, to cover their heads for a failure to do so might upset the aforementioned calm atmosphere by earning you a tongue-lashing in Russian from the elderly women caretakers.
If you have seen all the other major tourist attractions in Moscow and you are looking for a peaceful day of slow walks and wonderful garden scenery (complete with Moscow’s ever-growing population of pigeons) I certainly recommend visiting this monastery.
Крестьянская пл., 10, Москва, 115172