Day 3: Pushkin Museum, Cathedral of Christ the Savior & Novodevichy Convent
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
In the morning we visited the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Russia’s second home of non-Russian art, with a collection from around the world ranging from the early Renaissance to the modern period. It includes works by Monet, Renoir, Dégas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Paul Klee, Rockwell, and Diego Rivera. Sorry, no photos.
Cathedral of Christ the Savior
Below is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which stands on the site of the original 19th century cathedral. Under Stalin, this cathedral was torn down in 1933 and turned into a municipal swimming pool, completed in 1959. In 1993, the cathedral was rebuilt as a national gesture after the USSR fell. The marble and granite structure cost of at least $360 million USD, funded by private donations.
Novodevichy (New-Maiden) Convent
In the afternoon we visited Novodevichy (New-Maiden) Convent, including the Smolensk Cathedral and the convent cemetery, which features memorials to many of Russia’s famous deceased individuals. The convent was built in 1524 as a cloister for noblewomen. It is where wives of nobility were sent when they were no longer wanted, including Peter the Great’s first wife and his half sister.
The working convent’s cemetery is perhaps the country’s most distinguished and contains the tombs of the writers Gogol, Chekhov, Mayakovsky, and Bulgakov, the film director Sergey Eisenstein, the composer Shostakovich, the pianist Svyatoslav Richter, the ballerina Galina Ulanova, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, and Russia’s first elected president, Boris Yeltsin, among many other 19th and 20th century figures.
Grave of Galina Sergeyevna Ulánova, one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century
The monument of Nadezhda Sergeevna Alliluyeva, Stalin’s second wife (below). He met her during one of his many exiles to Siberia. She suffered from mental illness and after a public fight at a dinner party she was found dead with a revolver near her hand. It was announced that she died of appendicitis, though the real cause is still uncertain.
The cemetery wall is used as a columbarium.
Chekov’s grave (below)
Boris Yelsten’s grave (below)