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Kolomenskoye has recently got a new exhibit: a late C17th wooden building of the Church of Saint George. It was pure chance that the church was discovered in Arkhangelsk Region swamps where it was perishing in a literal sense. The church was dismantled, carried to Kolomenskoye in 2010, completely restored by scientific specialists and assembled again. The wooden church was built on a bank of the small Yorga River, a right tributary of the Northern Dvina, in 1685. The construction was funded by the congregation. Between the late 1920s and the early 1930s, the church was transferred for management by the Semyonovsky village soviet, which turned it into a club and, then, a warehouse. The iconostasis and other interior decoration were lost.
On the initiative of Ilya Glazunov, Rector of the Fine Arts Academy in Moscow, the remaining building of the Church of Saint George was examined by an expert team of the Moscow State United Reserve Museum over 10 years ago. The examination was followed by formulating a concept for taking the monument apart and carrying it to Kolomenskoye for its restoration and erection at a new place. The church has paintings that have survived from the end of the C19th and were part of its interior decoration.
The Church of Saint George is built according to ancient tradition and is essentially a simple izba, or a log house, crowned with three onion domes. That is why such churches were called log houses. The oldest remaining log house-style church is the Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus from the Svyato-Uspensky Monastery of Murom. The church is believed to have been built at the end of the C14th, as early as Venerable Lazarus, the founder of this monastery on the shores of Lake Onega, was still alive. This monument is located in the Kizhi museum now.
Since a long time ago Saint George has been believed to be the patron of livestock. In certain regions he was called a ‘livestock driver’ or even a ‘livestock god’. Farmers addressed him to seek protection for their animals from theft and wild beasts. When livestock were first put out to pasture in the springtime, a Saint George icon was often carried round a herd. There are still some ‘livestock’ in Kolomenskoye now. These are horses, of course. Visitors are offered exciting horse riding tours round the estate, carriage riding in summer and sleigh riding in winter. As part of a wedding ceremony, the bridegroom and bride may choose a tour of Kolomenskoye in a horse-drawn carriage. While strolling in Kolomenskoye, you can come across a wedding procession of horse-drawn carriages or visitors on horseback.
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.