--:-- • --:--Пример экскурсии
This big granite boulder is not a plain boulder. According to one theory, this is the Boris Stone, a boundary sign of the lands controlled by Polotsk Prince Boris. But if we take a closer look at the inscriptions carved on both sides of the cross, we can read as follows: ‘The Cross of Sulibor’. There is absolutely no mention of Prince Boris there. However, the information plate located near the stone says that the stone has the following phrase carved on it: “Lord, protect your servant Boris’. Surely, it is not known who Sulibor was.
The first Boris Stones were found and described in the C19th. Every Boris Stone has carvings of a five-pointed cross and different inscriptions. Boris Stones were found in the upper reaches of the Western Dvina. Their function is still unknown. In the Soviet period, Boris Stones were aggressively destroyed with dynamite. This was how the Soviet authorities tried to fight religion. Only four Boris Stones has survived: one is located in Druya, the Vitebsk Region, one in Kameno Village, the Minsk Region, and one is near the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom in Polotsk. The fourth stone is on display in Kolomenskoye (prior to that, it was exhibited in the Historical Museum).
There are different opinions about the origin of the images and inscriptions carved on the surface of Boris Stones. But none of theories is fully convincing. According to some theories, those boulders marked the boundaries of the Polotsk Principality. However, all the stones are located far from the boundaries. According to some other theories, the boulders symbolised the fight of the new faith against paganism. But before the adoption of Christianity, those stones were used by pagans as sacred objects. Some researchers think that the Prince of Polotsk carved the cross to fight against the old faith and perpetuate his name.
There is a hypothesis that the name of one of Boris Stones—Boris-Khlebnik—means that in this case the name of Boris was associated with the ancient agricultural festival celebrating the appearance of the first shoots of spring crops. As early as the C12th, Saints Boris and Gleb Day was timed to coincide with this festival in May. Probably, the name was given owing to the fact that those boulders resembled round loaves of bread. Some scientists think that crosses and inscriptions were carved on some of those boulders during the terrible famine in May 1128, when the ground was covered with snow till, winter crops were killed by frost, and people had to eat moss and straw.
Boris, after who the famous stones were named, was the Prince of Polotsk and a son of legendary Vseslav the Sorcerer. It is known that he launched military campaigns against the Baltic tribes of Yotvingians and Semigallians in the C12th. Probably, Boris Stone inscriptions served as prayers for the Lord’s blessing on their feats of arms. All the more so that Boris Stones were typically located along the Dvina River west of Polotsk, following the routes of those campaigns. The Lower Dvina region was controlled by Polotsk, which is evidenced by giant stones, with crosses carved on them, standing along the Western Dvina and in Latvia, nearly reaching the Baltic Sea. Unfortunately, nearly all Polotsk stones—those invaluable monuments of our ancient history and national sacred objects—perished.
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.