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The small two-storey tower with four equal sides is a unique monument of military wooden architecture. This is the tower of the Bratsky Ostrog.
The upper floor of the Bratsky Ostrog tower is designed for combat purposes. It has several loopholes for musketry and an embrasure for cannon fire. The tower was assembled in a new place, and almost all of its lost elements were reconstructed. It is restored regularly. Its most recent restoration took place in 2007.
An ostrog, a stockaded fort, is one of Siberia’s commonest types of fortifications. The Bratsky Ostrog was built in the middle of the C17th on the left bank of the Angara River. It was a four-cornered fortress encircled by palisade walls, about five metres high. The perimeter was about 213 metres. An ancient description of the fortress reads: ‘Under three towers are cabins; the fourth has entrance gates instead of a cabin. Next to the gates are a chapel and a new storehouse with an interior wall about seven meters long’. The rebel protopope Avvakum was held in confinement in one of the Bratsky Ostrog’s towers.
By the beginning of the C18th the Bratsky Ostrog lost its military functions. The village of Bratskoye gradually developed round the former fortress. The village eventually evolved into the city of Bratsk in the middle of the 20th. Construction of the Bratsk hydroelectric plant involved creating a reservoir, and the former fortress was found to be inside the boundaries of the future artificial lake. Before damming the river, scientists thoroughly examined the remaining elements of the ancient fortress. One of the remaining towers was carried to the Angara Village museum and the other was taken to Kolomenskoye.
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.