The Pokrovsky Convent (or Svyato-Pokrovsky Convent) was founded in 1364 by Prince Dmitri Konstantinovich although most of its present-day buildings date from the 16th century. Famously the first wife of Vasili III, Salomonia Saburova, was exiled to the convent so that Vasili was free to marry Yelena Glinskaya who would eventually give him the heir he so desired - the future Tsar Ivan the Terrible. Peter the Great took Vasili III's lead and also exiled his first wife, Yevdokia Lopukhina, to the convent in 1698. Several other female members of the Russian royal family were also buried at the convent. In 1923 the convent was closed, however it was restored between 1950 and 1960 and eventually turned into a tourist complex in the 1980s. In 1992 the convent was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church and restored.
The convent is surrounded by a wall and the main entrance is served by the Annunciation Gate-Church. beyond this is the convent's main cathedral - the Intercession Cathedral. Both buildings were constructed during the reign of Vasili III. The white stone cathedral was built between 1510 and 1518. It has three domes, one larger central one with two smaller ones on the back corners, and is surrounded by a gallery which is attached to a bell tower.
Conception of Anna Church and Prikaznaya Izba
Behind the cathedral is the Conception of Anna Church which includes a refectory. The church was completed in 1551 using a donation from Tsar Ivan the Terrible. A museum still remains on the site of the convent - the Prikaznaya Izba Museum which dates from the early 18th century. The Prikaznaya Izba was the building of the local self-government of this era. Today its original interior has been restored and it also has displays on the history of the convent.