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Kolomenskoye Museum Reserve (Moscow)

Moscow (tel.: +7 499 612-52-17, +7 499 612-11-55, +7 499 615-27-68, +7 499 614-88-80), Metro station: "Kolomenskaya".

Map

http://www.mgomz.ru

High over the steep banks of the Moscow River, in picturesque natural surroundings, ancient Kolomenskoye is situated. It is a unique historic place, where during many centuries monuments of the Russian history and culture have been being created, presented to the world and carefully preserved.

In 1923, a small museum was founded on this land full of legends. The museum was based on the historically shaped architectural ensemble of the country estate of the Russian grand princes and tsars. As time passed, this small museum has developed into the Kolomenskoye Museum Reserve of architecture and art, a large complex of 390 hectares (960 acres).

The unique landscape of Kolomenskoye was formed by lives and activities of many generations. At a short distance from the centre of the estate, on a round flap-top hill Dyakovo settlement, which is the most ancient settlement within modern Moscow, appeared 2.500 years ago; the name of the settlement spread to its archaeological culture, the Dyakovo culture. Recently, archaeologists discovered Early Medieval (8th — 10th centuries) settlements in the central part of Kolomenskoye as well as the unique Dyakovo-poyma settlement, which is an ancient Russian village of the 11th and 12th centuries, at the feet of the Dyakovo Hill.

Kolomenskoye was first mentioned in written sources of the 14th century, specifically, in the testaments (1336 and 1339) of Grand Prince Ivan Kalita, the ruler of the Principality of Moscow.

As historical sources testify, here many events related to the history of the Russian state took place: for example, the army of Grand Prince Dmitry Donskoy and the one of Tsar Peter the Great stayed after the Battle of Kulikovo (1380) and the Battle of Poltava (1709), respectively, and grand princes of Moscow used to muster troops for military expeditions.

Since the 14th century, Kolomenskoye had been a summer country estate of the Russian rulers. In the 16th and 17th centuries, a unique architectural ensemble of Kolomenskoye was shaping; it was penetrated by the idea of the magnificent residence of the tsars that is highly valuable in the artistic and historical sense.

The Church of Ascension built in 1532 is situated on the high bank of the Moscow River. This is one of the first Russian steepled churches. In the 16th — 17th centuries, this church, small in interior space, served as a summer family chapel for the Russian tsars.

In 1996, together with the Moscow Kremlin and the Red Square, the church was included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.

Currently, in accordance with an agreement with the Patriarchy the church is jointly used by the museum and the patriarchal metochion founded in 1994. In 1917, the Great Wonder-Working Icon of Our Sovereign Lady was uncovered at the ground floor of the church.

There are three more architectural monuments in the immediate vicinity of the Church of Ascension: the George Bell Tower (the 16th century), the Vodovzvodnaya Tower (the 17th century) and the Hunting Pavilion (1825) built by the architect E. Tyurin. Dyakovo hosts the Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, which is a wonderful monument of the 16th century architecture. Built in the middle of the 16th century, it served as a prototype for the Cathedral of Basil the Blessed in the Red Square and is thought to be constructed by the same architects.

The Tsar Court, the historical core of Kolomenskoye, was enclosed by a partially stone and partially wooden wall that had two gates: the Front (or Palace) Gates, which served as a front entrance to the estate, and the Rear (or Spassky) Gates.

Several buildings are attached to the Front Gates: the Prikazniye Palace (the office of the estate administration), the Colonel Palace (the office of the leaders of the regiment that protected the palace), the Fryazhsky (or Dry) Cellar, and the two-storey Sitny Court, where beverages for the table of the tsars were prepared.

All the buildings of the Front Gates and the Sitny Court are occupied with exhibitions.

In the 17th century, a unique wooden palace dubbed the "Eighth World Wonder" was erected in Kolomenskoye; it embodied the best achievements of wooden architecture of the time.

Since 1645, the fate of the Church of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan (or the Kazan Church), which was under construction, had been intimately connected with Tsar Alexey Mikhaylovich (reigned in 1645–1676). The tsar liked the estate and during a period of thirty years spent every summer holiday here. In order to commemorate the birth of his heir, approximately in 1649 the side-altar of Dmitry Salunsky, which was the second side altar, was added to the church; it completed the architectural composition. Later, the Kazan Church assumed the functions of the family church; according to the custom, the church kept the treasury and the most valuable objects moved here during the summer holiday of the tsar. With the construction having been finished, the Kazan Church was ornamented and richly adorned with various cloths and carpets. At the beginning, the young tsar used Kolomenskoye for falcon hunting; however, by the end of his reign (1676) the estate had turned into a sumptuous country residence. A covered passage connected the palace with the Kazan Church, which was being built in stone in 1651–1671. Even now it is a functioning church.

In the 17th century, after the wooden palace had been completely disassembled a new four-storey palace was built on the bank of the Moscow River; it is in this palace that Empress Catherine the Great wrote her famous law treatise, Instruction. During Napoleon's invasion of 1812, the palace was sacked. In 1825, a new palace, which did not survive until our times either, was built on the same foundations, in the Empire style, by order of Emperor Alexander I.

In 1920s, the excellent Russian architect P. Baranovsky started creating the first Russian open-air museum of wooden architecture. At different times, monuments of the 17th and 18th century wooden architecture were brought to Kolomenskoye and mostly placed in the ancient Voznesensky Garden. Here wooden structures from various Russian regions were put together: the Saint Gates (1693) of the Nikolo-Korelsky Monastery at the White Sea shores, the Bratsk Tower (mid-17th century) from the Bratsk Dam area and a memorial House of Peter the Great (1702) from the city of Arkhangelsk.

A household outbuilding of the Preobrazhensky palace (the 18th century), conventionally named "Mead Brewery", is the first building erected in Kolomenskoye by the Front Gates. The House of Peter the Great is occupied with an exposition that reconstructs the interior of the early 18th century camp, habitable rooms of the tsar.

In April of 1990 the Moscow parliament decision #666 started the works for restoration and development of the Kolomenskoye Museum Reserve; the works were continued by the all-inclusive programme of development of Kolomenskoye during the period up to 2007. The architectural ensemble as well as the historical landscape of the estate is under restoration and new expositions are being created. In 2004, the museumification of the Kormovoy Yard was completed. The Kolomenskoye State Museum Reserve is a set of monuments of the Russian history and culture. The set consists of 17 architectural monuments: 12 of them comprise the preserved part of the 16th to 19th century architectural ensemble of the tsar estate, while 4 monuments are the wooden structures brought from different Russian regions.

In 1983, the first Russian special-purpose museum depository building was built in Kolomenskoye.

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Kolomenskoye Museum Reserve


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