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Can you see a tidy, red and white brick house with a green roof? At present it hosts the media centre of the Kolomenskoye reserve museum, and the Merchants’ Estate. This is one of Kolomenskoye’s rare surviving buildings: the Grobov farmers’ estate.
The surname of Grobov was widespread in the village of Kolomenskoye. At the beginning of the 20th there were at least 20 Grobov families here. But only one house survived. The Grobovs began building it as early as before the Russian Revolution of 1917 and finished construction in the 1920s. The family was not poor, and they built a large and beautiful house.
The surname of Grobov is derived from the Russian word grob, meaning a coffin. Most probably this surname comes from an occupation, and their ancestors were grave diggers. A coffin was an important part of Slavic funeral rites, with a lot of popular and superstitious beliefs. For example, it was common practice for the Russians to prepare coffins a long time before their deaths and keep them in the attic. They regarded it as a sign of a long life. However, in this case a coffin had to contain some grain so as not to ‘pull’ the dead into itself with its emptiness. If nobody died, grain was used for sowing or given as alms. A coffin was also compared to a home.
The calm and hasteless life of Kolomenskoye came to an end when collective farming began. The village was rich, with big good houses and private livestock. Many of Kolomenskoye’s residents hired workers. There were about 60 families of kulaks here. Before the Russian Revolution of 1917, the kulaks were high-income farmers who used hired labour, resold agricultural products and were engaged in usury and brokerage. The kulaks faced a different attitude after the revolution, with a campaign of political repressions and expropriation launched against better-off families.
When a collective farm was established in Kolomenskoye, all high-income farmers were exiled to Siberia to work at the Kuznetsk iron and steel plant. The Grobovs’ house now hosted the board of the Garden Giant collective farm. The family was allowed to occupy a household building where they had kept potatoes.
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.