A cluster of shining domes above a fortified rampart belongs to the lovely Novodevichiy Convent (daily 10am–5pm; closed Tues & last Mon of month; R150; Sportivnaya), founded by Ivan the Terrible in 1524. At its heart stands the white Cathedral of the Virgin of Smolensk. In its cemetery lie numerous famous writers, musicians and artists, including Gogol, Chekhov, Stanislavsky, Bulgakov and Shostakovich.

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