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The history of the modern Kolomenskoye Reserve Museum started in 1923, when remarkable architect and restorer Pyotr Dmitriyevich Baranovsky founded a small museum on the base of the architectural ensemble of the imperial country estate. Pyotr Baranovsky contributed a lot to the Russian culture, preserving great many architectural monuments.
Pyotr Dmitriyevich Baranovsky was born into a peasant family in 1892. He received two academic degrees, in construction engineering and art history. He studied at the Imperial Archaeological Institute, which was disbanded after the 1917 revolution. In the following years, Pyotr Baranovsky developed a restoration methodology that is still used. He contributed to the establishment of not only the Kolomenskoye Reserve Museum, but also the Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art based on the premises of the Andronikov Monastery of Our Saviour in Moscow.
Pyotr Dmitriyevich Baranovsky restored a great deal of most valuable architectural monuments. Unfortunately, some of them were demolished in subsequent years. His surveys were used to recreate the Kazan Cathedral in Red Square, which he also restored in the 1920s shortly before the demolition. In 1962, Pyotr Baranovsky was award the title ‘Honoured Artist of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic’. However, it was not all plain sailing for him. His passion for old architecture cost him freedom. His colleagues inform on him and he had to serve time in prison camps in the 1930s.
In 1920, Pyotr Baranovsky participated in a research expedition organised by art historian Igor Grabar along the Northern Dvina River. What the restorer saw during the expedition filled him with a great pain and concern about the future of the ancient architecture in the North of Russia. Some years later, he was the first in this country to implement the idea of establishing an open-air museum containing authentic ancient wooden architectural structures that were no longer in use and dilapidating. Pyotr Baranovsky brought six architectural monuments from the White Sea area and other places. These monuments lay the basis for an exposition in Kolomenskoye and were used to study ancient Russian architectural engineering.
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.