What You Will See
The dominant structure at Kolomenskoye is the Church of the Ascension, the earliest existing structure. In the 16th century it served as a summer church for the Tsar’s Family. It was erected to mark a momentous event- the birth of a long- awaited heir to the Russian throne, the future Ivan IV, called Ivan the Terrible. The church reaches a height of 62 meters.
The Palace of the Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich in Kolomenskoye is a monument of art and every-day life of the last and brightest period of Moscow Tsardom, the period from which modern Russia takes its roots.
It is a masterpiece of 16th-17th century art and architecture. It was first mentioned in the will of the Moscow Prince Ivan Kalita which dates to 1339 as a country residence. As time went by, the residence was converted into the favorite summer palace of Tsar Alexis I. Peter the Great daughter Elizabeth was born in the palace in 1709 and Tsar Peter the Great spent part of his youth here.
Today, it is one of the most impressive living museums of medieval art and history. Its collection includes authentic interior artifacts, icons, wooden sculpture, furniture, household items.
The interior exposition is located in 24 reconstructed chambers of the Tsar’s, Tsarina’s and Tsareviches’ (the Tsar’s sons’) towers. The design of each chamber lies in harmony with its function (gala reception halls, personal chambers).
On the narrative paintings in Throne chamber of the Tsar’s tower you can see biblical kings David and Solomon (it was not for nothing that Simeon Polotsky compared the palace with “Solomon’s fair chamber”.
The motifs used in interior painting include ornaments, narrative painting and ancient mythological characters
Like in many palaces of the world, the image of the starry sky with symbols of the Sun and the Moon played a great part in the interior décor. The motif symbolizes the ties between earthly and heavenly power. In the Tsarina’s Tower you will see paintings related to Four Seasons and the Parables from the Book of Esther.
Details of the Tour
Alexey Palace tour last for 2 hours and during this time you will discover:
- The numerous and elaborate system of rooms and passages;
- Sophisticated wooden carving;
- Extravagant interiors, with gilded walls and ceilings;
- The symbols of Royalty typical for Medieval Russia;
- What the famous Russian expression “You are too heavy to bear, Crown of Monomakh” means.
The History of the Palace
The State Historical, Architectural and landscape Museum of Kolomenskoye is located several kilometers to the south-east of Moscow city center on the ancient road leading to the town of Kolomna, so the name of the residence. The area is about 390 hectares overlooks the bank of the Moskva River.
Kolomenskoye was particularly important during the reign of Ivan IV the Terrible in the 16th century and Alexey Mikhailovich in the 17th century. The Unique architectural ensemble was built at this period
The palace with 270 rooms decorated with paintings and carvings was built in 1667 without using any fastens materials, nails or hooks. It consisted of 26 buildings connected with each other by numerous corridors. The whole complex was divided into male and female parts. The male part included ceremonial chambers, chambers of the tsar and his sons, while the female part belonged to the Tsarina and Alexis’s daughters.
Foreigners referred to the Palace as an “Eighth Wonder of the World.” After the moving the Royal Court from Moscow to St. Petersburg in the 18th century the palace was gradually falling into decay. Catherina the Great refused to make it her Moscow residence.
The Moscow Government completed a full scale reconstruction as detailed plans of the Alexis Palace survived as well as its descriptions in numerous documents, paintings and drawings. During the early Soviet period various artifacts were transported to Kolomenskoye from different parts of the USSR for preservation, so nowadays Kolomenskoye hosts an impressive set of different historical objects.