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Historical gardens constitute the largest part of the premises of the Kolomenskoye Reserve Museum. By the early C18th, there had been six gardens here. New Garden was the largest one. It was laid out ‘in front of the Monarchic Court’. Red Garden was small but abundant in different plants. The other ones were Old Big Garden, Dyakovo Garden, Ascension Garden, and Kazan Garden.
Of those old Kolomenskoye gardens, only three ones have survived. Dyakovo Garden is behind Golosov Ravine, not far from the Church of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. It was planted as early as the C17th. Kazan Garden was laid out in about the same period. It is located between the Church of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan and Torgovaya Street. And finally, Ascension Garden is the youngest. It was created in the C18th near Pharmaceutical Vegetable Garden and could be accessed through the Garden Gate of the Monarchic Court.
Surely, fruit trees do not live for ages, so all the trees here are new. The gardens’ layouts, however, have been preserved since the C17th. That is why these gardens are called historical. Kolomenskoye is eagerly visited, when hundreds of apple and cherry trees are adorned with fragrant white and pink blossoms. This is surely a moment not to be missed!
Since the old days, gardens have been associated with Paradise. In the minds of medieval people, the garden was considered to be the image of Eden. It was supposed to include apple trees, as the symbol of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and vines as the image of Christ. Climatically, Moscow was not suitable for growing vines. That is why they grew gooseberries, popularly called ‘northern vines’ or ‘Russian vines’. This substitution was thought up by clerk of the Boyars' Council Averky Kirollov, who supervised imperial gardeners. His famous palace is situated nearly opposite the Moscow Kremlin on Bersenyevskaya Embankment. Interestingly, ‘bersen’ is an archaic Russian word meaning ‘gooseberry’.
To create their Eden, the Russians replaced heat-loving vines with gooseberry bushes. As for apple trees, they are not so fastidious and do perfectly well in Russia and produce abundant harvests. So, it is not without reason that one of the most popular festive days in Russia is Saviourof the Apple Feast Day. This is a vernacular name, though. The official name is Transfiguration Day. It is celebrated in August, when apples start to bear fruit. Originally, Apple Feast Day was an ancient pagan harvest festival celebrated in autumn.
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.