Resurrection Novodevichy Smolny Convent
The ensemble of the Resurrection Novodevichy (Smolny) Convent is one of Bartolomeo Rastrelli’s outstanding creations. Its construction lasted from 1748 till 1769. The convent placed near the Tar Yard soon came to be known as the Smolny (Tar).
According to the architect’s project, the monastery blocks are arranged as a cruciform polygon, with four little churches with elegant cupolas installed in its inner corners. In the yard center, opened from the western side, there arises the white and light-blue stepped giant of the Resurrection Cathedral. Its side turrets-belfries, diagonally deployed, as if support the one in the middle, merging into a common architectural group and lightly tower above the city.
After Rastrelli’s death the construction of the convent ensemble was stopped for long decades. Nor was implemented the design of a majestic 140-metre bell-tower. It was only in 1832 — 1835 that architect V. P. Stasov finalized the development of the Resurrection Cathedral. To his design a vast church hall was thoroughly laid with artificial marble, three excellent icon-stands were installed, the balustrade of cut crystal was placed in front of the altars. The temple, sanctified after being finally constructed on July 20, 1835, was named ’the Cathedral of All Educational Establishments’.
The fate of the Smolny Resurrection Cathedral, Rastrelli’s and V. P. Stasov’s creation, turned to be sad in many respects. Soon after the October Revolution its splendid inner decoration was broken and plundered. For many years the devastated temple was turned into a storehouse. In 1990 the Concert and Exhibition complex was opened in it.