Donskoy Monastery

Valeriy Sharifulin/ТАSS

This centrally located monastery near Shabolovskaya Metro station was founded in 1591, right after Muscovites had defeated the army of the Crimean Khan Gazy II Girey outside the Kremlin walls. The cloister is dedicated to the Icon of Our Lady of the Don, with which, according to the chronicles, Dmitry of the Don had been blessed for the Battle of the Kulikovo Field. This icon, believed to have been painted by Theophanes the Greek, had remained inside the monastery church for many years before it was handed over to the Tretyakov State Gallery. Napoleon's soldiers looted the monastery in 1812, but the eight-tier carved iconostasis of the Bolshoy Cathedral of Our Lady of the Don, crafted at the end of the 17th century, had survived as if by miracle. The paintings on the iconostasis betray Italian influences. Its bottom tiers were painted by the famous icon painter Karp Zolotarev. The monastery's other landmark is its old necropolis, filled with historic gravestones of the gentry since the 17th century. Guided tours of the graveyard are available, but must be ordered in advance. On the wall across from the monastery entrance are surviving bas-reliefs from the Church of Christ the Saviour, destroyed in 1931.