We spent half a day at Novodevichy Monastery, and thoroughly enjoyed it – few people /tourists and enclosed walls make it feel like a peaceful sanctuary far away from Moscow’s hustle and bustle. But you still get the most awesome, amazing churches that are definitely worth seeing. Great weather helps too.
The monastery was built by the Czars for the noble ladies, who were no longer fit to be part of court – an unwanted wife, inconvenient sister, other some such. I guess there might have been some extra pious noble women who wanted to go of their own volition (not too many stories about those though). The walls were there to make sure none ran away.
The other cool bit here is that monastery was established in the early 1500s, but various other buildings were constructed over time so that all are different architectural styles. Neat.
After visiting the monastery, take a half hour (or more!) to visit one of Russia’s most famous cemeteries located right behind the monastery. Many of Russia’s famous authors (Gogol, Nabokov), artists (Nikulin), and first president (Yeltsin) are buried there.
Transport links: metro station Sportivnaya. Once you exit it’s a short walk, but one that is not very clearly market. Use yandex maps, ask around, or attempt to look for signs. It’s not very hard!
Fees: Tickets are necessary to enter the actual buildings / see expositions, but the site itself is free. At least no one was checking tickets at the entrance when we were there.