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In the C17th during the reign of Tsar Aleksey I, an intensive road communication was established between Moscow and Kolomenskoye. Therefore, the Tsar ordered to erect verst stones along the road to his residence. They were installed 700 sazhens (or about one and half kilometres) apart. The stones were 4 metres high with carved wooden eagles on the top. Those were Russia's first verst stones used to mark the distance. In the C18th during the reign of Peter the First, a verst was equal to 500 sazhens or 1 kilometre and 67 metres. The popular expression ‘a verst of Kolomna’, originating from those long versts, came to denote a very tall person.
Kolomenskoye is a nice park and a former royal estate situated several kilometers to the southeast of the city center of Moscow, on the ancient road leading to the ancient picturesque town of Kolomna (hence the name).
The area overlooks the steep banks of the Moskva River. This fact will allow you to do a lot of great panoramic photos. This is also a place where seasonal folk festivals take place: honey and handicrafts trade-fairs, religious festivities and processions. If you fond of painting, this is the right place for drawing nature, city landscapes and churches.
The area is rich with cafes and restaurants offering traditional Russian cuisine in wooden houses. Try Russian pan-cakes with different filling, small and big pies, and honey cakes.
Kolomenskoye village was first mentioned in the testament of Ivan Kalita in 1339. As time went by, the village was developed as a favourite country estate of grand princes of Muscovy. The earliest existing structure is the exceptional Ascension church (1532), built in white stone to commemorate the long-awaited birth of an heir to the throne, the future Ivan the Terrible. Being the first stone church of tent-like variety, the uncanonical "White Column" (as it is sometimes referred to) marked a stunning break from the Byzantine tradition.
Recognizing its outstanding value for humanity, UNESCO decided to inscribe the church on the World Heritage List. The estate was one of the favourite places for Ivan the Terrible. He used to celebrate here his name-day in August. In XVI-XVII centuries there develops a unique architectural ensemble, subordinated to the idea of ceremonial royal residence, which is of great artistic and historical value. The heyday of Kolomenskoye is associated with the reign of Alexey Mikhailovich - Kolomenskoye was his favorite residence also. In 1667-1668 a magnificent wooden palace (the Eighth Wonder of the World) which had 250 rooms, was erected. The complex of the royal buildings was surrounded by the wall with three gates: Front, Back and Garden.
The future Empress Elizabeth Petrovna was born in the palace in 1709, and Tsar Peter the Great spent part of his youth here. Upon the departure of the court for St. Petersburg, the palace fell into disrepair, so that Catherine II refused to make it her Moscow residence. On her orders the wooden palace was demolished in 1768, and replaced with a much more modest stone-and-brick structure.
Fortunately, detailed plans of the 17th century palace survived and Moscow Government has completed a full-scale reconstruction in 2010.