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Wooden palace in Kolomenskoe.
18th century picture.
Wooden palace in Kolomenskoe.
18th century picture.
Kolomenskoye ( ) is a former royal estate situated several miles to the south-east of Moscowmarker downtown, on the ancient road leading to the town of Kolomnamarker (hence the name). The scenic area which overlooks the steep banks of the Moskva River became a part of Moscow in the 1960s.

The White Column of Kolomenskoye

Kolomenskoye village was first mentioned in the testament of Ivan Kalita (1339). As the time went by, the village was developed as a favourite country estate of grand princes of Muscovy. The earliest extant 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 rupture with the Byzantine tradition. [51052]

The church stands up toward the sky from a low cross-shaped podklet (ground floor), then follows a prolonged chetverik (octagonal body) of the church, and then an octagonal tent, crowned by a tiny dome. The narrow pilasters on the sides of the chetverik, the arrow-shaped window frames, the three tiers of the kokoshniks and the quiet rhythm of stair arcades and open galleries underline the dynamic tendency of this masterpiece of the Russian architecture. The whole vertical composition is believed to have been borrowed from hipped roof-style wooden churches of the Russian North. Recognizing its outstanding value for humanity, UNESCOmarker decided to inscribe the church on the World Heritage List in 1994.

The great palace and other structures

On the other side of the ravine from Kolomenskoye may be seen the five-tented , tentatively dated to 1547. Actually, the church's origin is enshrouded in mystery. Some say the masters were Italians, others assign it to Postnik Yakovlev, reputedly the author of Saint Basil's Cathedralmarker on the Red Squaremarker. Whatever the truth may be, it is clear that the church represents a transitional stage between the Ascension church, described above, and the famous 8-tented cathedral on the Red Squaremarker.

Tsar Alexis I of Russia had all the previous wooden structures in Kolomenskoye demolished and replaced them with a new great wooden palace, famed for its fanciful, fairy-tale roofs. The foreigners referred to this huge maze of intricate corridors and 250 rooms, built without using saws, nails, or hooks, as 'an eighth wonder of the world'. The future Empress Elizabeth Petrovna was born in the palace in 1709. Upon departure of the court for St Petersburgmarker, the palace got dilapidated, so that Catherine II refused to make it her Moscow residence. On her orders the palace was demolished in 1768. Fortunately a wooden model of the palace survives, and the Moscow Government has begun its full-scale reconstruction.

Remaining vestiges of the palace complex include the five-domed Kazanskaya church (1662), of rather conventional architecture, and the of the former palace.

Aerial view of Kolomenskoye
During the Soviet years, old wooden buildings were transported to Kolomenskoye from the Far North (the barbican church of the Nikolo-Korelsky Monasterymarker), Siberiamarker (the Bratskmarker Stockade Tower), and other areas (loghouses, windmills, a Dvina stone, etc). Some of these structures date back to the 17th century.


Image:Kolomen01.jpg|Ascension Church (1535). SummerImage:Kolomenskoe Spassky Gate Entrance.hires.jpg|Stone gates (17th-century)Image:Church of Our Lady of Kazan, Kolomenskoe, Moscow.jpg|Church of Our Lady of Kazan (1660s).Image:Kolomen02.jpg|Church of Our Lady of KazanImage:Kolomen04.jpg|Wooden gateway tower of Nikolo-Karelsky Monastery (17th century)Image:Colonel palace in Kolomenskoe Moscow 1.jpg|Colonel palaceImage:Colonel palace in Kolomenskoe Moscow 2.jpg|Colonel palaceImage:George bell tower. Kolomenskoe, Moscow.jpg|George bell tower

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