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Excursion to Kolomenskoe of Moscow with private tour guide.
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Ancient village Kolomenskoe near Moscow has been known from the beginning of XIV century. It was first mentioned in ecclesiastical letter missive of Ivan Kalita. From long ago this village located on the high bank above the water-meadow of Moskva River served as summer residence of Moscow princes and tsars. Grand Duke Basil III liked it in particular and developed it. During his reign in Kolomenskoe there was built famous cathedral of Ascension – the main and the most beautiful building of the palace village. This is the first stone tent cathedral in Russia which started wonderful temple style that have existed up to the reform of Patriarch Nikon in the middle of XVII century.
The date of beginning of the construction of church of Ascension in Kolomenskoe is connected with the birth of long-awaited heir grand duke – the future tsar Ivan the Terrible.
Construction work ended in 1532, consecration of the temple took place on September 2, 1532 by the metropolitan of Russia, Daniil in memory of one of the largest Christian holidays – Ascension of Christ. Chronicle reports about three-day feast of grand duke, metropolitan Daniil and numerous guests.
Possibly, Italian architects took part in the construction of temple. Elements of ornamental decoration speak in favor of “Italian” version since such elements were not seen previously in Russian architecture: pilasters with carved capitals typical for the Renaissance architecture and semi-column framing the windows, gothic tropeic arches-gables, typical for the late Middle Ages and Italian Renaissance. Italian architect Pietro (Franchesco?), Annibale (Petr Gannibal) or Petrok Maloy (i.e., junior, young) as he was called in Moscow who is considered to be architect of Church of Ascension.The church situated on the high hill of the right bank of Moskva river. In the base of the temple there was laid unique foundation: it is enormous artificial rock with an area 600-650 m2 (26x24m) and volume 4000m3. On the slope of river terrace there was dug up huge foundation pit bottom of which was strengthened by the piles. Then monolithic foundation was made of limestone blocks fastened together by the solution. This foundation has different depth. Massive part of the foundation remote from the slope forms something like an “anchor” which is fixed to the slope and doesn’t allow huge temple to slip down the slope. The upper edge of foundation in a form of low stylobate is seen on the surface of the slope. The foundation lifted the temple and pulled it out over the precipitous slope.
Despite the imposing external volume, area of internal room of Church of Ascension is relatively small: 8.5 m x 8.5 m. Small interior of the temple wasn’t intended for bug amount of people since it was family chapel. During the divine services there were tsar and members of tsar’s family. Boyards and the guards were on the gallery. Crowds of people gathered on the square in front of the palace, they were prohibited to go inside the church. Exposed-to-view tent is 41 meters long.
Light penetrate to the temple through the windows located in unusual way. For example, the lower part of temple is illuminated by apertures cut not in the walls but in angular projections of quadrangle. In the tent windows are placed according to cardinal points. Successfully placed windows provide much light and make the tent light and full of air. During the building of church the floor was paved with ceramic tiles of brown and black color laid like an envelope Ancient iconostasis of XVI century and painting of walls haven’ t remained. During the restoration of 2007 there was recreated ancient iconostasis consisting of icons placed on horizontal transoms of 1570-1580.