I have already reported in my first edition of ‘Parks and Recreation’ in Moscow that the city offers a great amount of parks and places where Muscovites and non-locals can enjoy their free time and just have a stroll. In this edition I will share my trip to another grand park/estate here in Moscow – Kolomenskoye (Коло́менское).
The 390 hectare park is located in the southeast of Moscow on the ancient road that leads to Kolomna (hence the name). The former royal estate overlooks the Moskva River. The village of Kolomenskoye was first named in a testament in 1339. It was founded by refugees from Kolomna, a city not far from Moscow. However, pre-Slavic civilisations dating back over 2,500 years have been found in this area. Between the 15th and 17th century the village transformed into a favourite country residency of a Grand Prince and several Tsars such as Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, or Alexander I.
In 1923 was the Museum of Wooden Architecture was founded in Kolomenskoye. Various wooden architecture examples were brought to the museum from all across the country, for example Peter the Great’s little house from Arkhangelsk. People were still living in Kolomenskoye as it remained a normal village, that became part of Moscow in the 1960s. Only after 1985 the villagers were resettled and it became the museum and park complex that it is now.
Probably the most noticeable and famous building is a great white church in the middle of the park. The Ascension church was built in 1532 in order to commemorate the birth of an heir to the throne – the future Ivan the Terrible. The church is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage monument. Right next to the Ascension church are other ‘old’ buildings – the St. George the Victorious Bell Tower (16th century), the Water Tower (17th cent.) and the Hunting Pavilion (19th).
Another beautiful building in the park is the Church of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan. It served as a family temple for royalties and is devoted to the Our Lady of Kazan icon, one of the most respected icons in Russia. This church was built in the 1630s, first as a wooden church and two decades later replaced with a brick one. It has the typical domes and plenty of gold which is a very familiar image of Russian religion.
What also really struck me was that the Moskva river is really beautiful here. You can take a stroll along the riverbank and have a beautiful view over parts of Moscow.
At one end of the park is the reconstructed palace of Tsar Alexis I, representing beautiful Russian architecture from the 17th century. Tsar Alexis I had all the previous wooden structures demolished and replaced with a new great wooden palace in the 17th century. Due to its fairytale roofs foreigners referred to this palace as an ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. During Peter the Great’s reign the court was moved from Moscow to St.Petersburg, as a result the palace fell into disrepair and was demolished at the end of the 18th century. Luckily, detailed plans of the original palace survived so it was reconstructed in 2010.
Actually, I have been there twice – once during the day and once in the late afternoon/early evening. So I also got to see the park during that special time of the day that I really really like! Especially when the sky turns pink/violet.
The park is really huge and there is a lot to see and do. There are playgrounds, cafés and other recreational activities offered. However, there is also more than enough space to find tranquility and solitude – something that is often needed in a megapolis such as Moscow. It is the perfect place for people who want to escape the big city noise. I definitely want to go there again when there is snow – I’ve heard that it is beautiful and quiet place to be during winter.
General information about the park:
The park is open daily from 8am to 9pm – free entrance to the park, small fee for the some sights to see the inside. To get there you just take the metro to Kolomenskaya Station, from which it is a ten-minute walk.