The location itself has quite an interesting history. The Novodevichy Convent was founded in 1524, and originally built as a fortress. In the years following, it has served as a fortress, a convent and monastery, a shelter for royal Russian ladies (those that had to "take the veil"), a military hospital, orphanage, museum and apartments. There is also a cemetery on the grounds. In 1812, Napoleon's army tried to destroy it, and Tolstoy used it as a setting for scenes in both 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina'.