Hidden Gem of Moscow: Kolomenskoye
A visit to Moscow must include the hidden gem of Kolomenskoye as well as Red Square Moscow and the stopping behind the Kremlin Wall. It is the former location of the residence of the Grand Princes of Moscow and later the Tsars of Russia. Kolomenskoye, and its 390 hectares, is situated on the outskirts of Moscow overlooking the Moskva River and dates back to the 14th century according to the Testament of Moscow Grand Prince, Ivan Kalita.
Kolomenskoye was the location of numerous important events: the armies of Prince Dmitry Donskoy in 1380 and Tsar Peter the Great in 1709 stopped on their way to battle. It was a summer residence for the Moscow Grand Princes and Tsars. Church of the Ascension was built in 1532 by Prince Vasili III to celebrate the birth of his son, the later Ivan IV (the Terrible) and an early example of traditional wooden roofed church. It made UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1994.
Tsar Alexei I built the great wooden palace in the 17th century, his favourite residence. The future Empress Elizabeth Petrovna was born there and Peter the Great spent his youth here. It fell into disrepair and was later torn down by Catherine the Great and replaced by a stone and brick structure, which was also torn down a century later. A replica of the original wooden palace was built in 2010.
There are numerous buildings to see and you could easily spend a whole day here. Don’t miss the Colonel’s Chamber Museum and Peter the Great’s log cabin. Both are fantastic to visit. The blue domes are another thing of beauty as you enter Kolomenskoye.
The church beside the Church of the Ascension (below), the belltower for the church of St. George – tough job to ring the bell. The little Russian rang those bells for five minutes or longer. It was a wonderful addition to its beauty. Walking around during the ringing of the bells was amazing; a very beautiful melody.
Tips for Visiting Kolomenskoye:
- It is easy to travel to Kolomenskoye – take the metro on the Zamoskvoretskaya Line to the Kolomenskaya stop (Коломенская) and walk about 10 minutes.
- The park is very large so give yourself a minimum of three hours to visit; likely need four to five.
- Admission to the park is free but you pay for entry to the museums and some of the sights (not a large amount).
- If you don’t want to do it yourself or prefer a tour guide, there are many tours that go to Kolomenskoye. I took a combo tour: metro and Kolomenskoye which also covers all entry fees.