Novodevichy Cemetery is the most famous cemetery in Moscow. It lies next to the southern wall of the 16th-century Novodevichy Convent, which is the city’s third most popular tourist site. It should not be confused with the Novodevichy Cemetery in Saint Petersburg.
History of Novodevichy Cemetery
The cemetery was designed by Ivan Mashkov and inaugurated in 1898. Its importance dates from the 1930s, when the necropoleis of the medieval Muscovite monasteries (Simonov, Danilov, Donskoy) were scheduled for demolition. Only the Donskoy survived the Joseph Stalin era relatively intact. The remains of many famous Russians buried in other abbeys, such as Nikolai Gogol and Sergey Aksakov, were disintered and reburied at the Novodevichy.
A 19th-century necropolis within the walls of the Novodevichy convent, which contained the graves of about 2000 Russian noblemen and university professors, also underwent reconstruction. The vast majority of graves were destroyed. It was at that time that the remains of Anton Chekhov were moved outside the monastery walls. His grave served as the kernel of the so-called “cherry orchard” – a section of the cemetery which contains the graves of Constantin Stanislavski and the leading actors of his company.