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Unlike his father, Mikhail I, who was an infrequent visitor to Kolomenskoye, preferring to stay in Pokrovskoye-Rubtsovo, Tsar Alexey took a fancy to the Kolomenskoye estate. The place had beautiful surroundings. An ancient poetic description of the estate reads: ‘The place is very beautiful and has good views of distant fields and the whole of Moscow, monasteries, the Moskva River very close to the yard. Vast water meadows along the Moskva River, a host of birds hunted by His Majesty with falcons. The fields are very suitable for falconry …’ As early as the very beginning of his reign, Tsar Alexey started construction of a stone building of the Church of Our Lady of Kazan in Kolomenskoye.
Tsar Alexey was a frequent visitor to Kolomenskoye. His departure from the capital was a solemn ceremony. The tsar’s English carriage pulled by six horses was accompanied by numerous servants, infantry sharpshooters (called Streltsy) and huntsmen. The tsarevich, the tsar’s son, with his mentor had a special carriage called izbushka, meaning a ‘small log cabin’. Twelve horses drew a carriage with the tsarina, boyars and governesses. The magnificent procession was as long as a mile. In Kolomenskoye the tsar often celebrated the name days of his sisters. The estate shortly became his permanent summer residence. It hosted sessions of the Boyar Duma. The tsar received foreign delegations, worked and spent his leisure time here. And, of course, he went hunting. With excellent game, the tsar’s falconry near Kolomenskoye always attracted guests.
Tsar Alexey had grown fond of the Kolomenskoye estate and decided to erect a new palace here. Large-scale construction started shortly afterwards. He became the chief manager of all work. Although the tsar was busy with state affairs, he frequently visited Kolomenskoye to supervise the construction of his royal palace. As a result, in the centre of the estate was a unique complex consisting of 26 ornate buildings connected by passages. Some buildings were as tall as 30 metres. The palace had two to six storeys, more than 270 rooms and thousands of exterior windows.
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.