Kolomna Kremlin – complete guide

Kolomna Kremlin.

Kolomna Kremlin is the main attraction of the city of Kolomna near Moscow. Its territory is not closed, and is one of the city districts. Kolomna Kremlin occupies an area of 24 hectares and is spread in the city center, near the place where the Kolomenka River flows into the Moscow River. Its territory is surrounded by fragments of the fortress wall, along which seven towers have survived.

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Video: Kolomensky Kremlin

Highlights

Many centuries ago, repelling the attacks of the enemy, Kolomna experienced many trials. Under the Golden Horde, each raid on Russia ended with the ruin of the city. For a long time Kolomna fortress was made of wood, but then it was replaced by a stone one.

The Kolomna Kremlin is one of the biggest Russian fortifications, built in the 16th century, during the reign of Grand Prince Vasily III. It was erected at a time when Moscow sought to protect its southern borders, making them safe from raids by the Crimean and Kazan Khanates. After Kolomna acquired a stone fortress, the enemy troops never managed to take the city by storm.

A few centuries later, the Kolomna fortress lost its military significance, and the locals began to dismantle it for building materials. But in 1826, Russian Emperor Nicholas I issued a decree forbidding the destruction of historical monuments. Thanks to this, the Kremlin in Kolomna survived and remained as a monument of architecture and fortification art.

The heart of the fortress is the Cathedral Square. Here you can see the oldest Kremlin structure – the picturesque Resurrection Church, where in 1366 the wedding of Prince Dmitry Donskoy and Evdokiya Suzdalskaya took place. Nearby stands one of the first Russian churches built of brick – the Church of St. Nicholas the Gostiny.

A bird’s-eye view of the Kremlin in Kolomna

The dominant feature of the architectural ensemble of the Kolomna Kremlin is the Dormition Cathedral, a monument to the Russian victory at the Kulikovo Field. Nowadays this ancient temple has a status of a cathedral. In addition, the Kremlin has a tall hipped bell tower, several churches, civic buildings and monuments, as well as two women’s monasteries – Trinity Novo-Golutvina and Brusenskaya.

Tourists visiting Kolomna can explore the Kremlin on their own or with a guide. There are many interesting tours and interactive programs for all comers.

History of the Kolomna Kremlin

The first Kremlin in Kolomna appeared in the middle of the XII century. It was built, thanks to the Ryazan princes, and, according to historians, occupied an area of 3 to 5 hectares. At that time the city was regularly raided by Tatar troops, and several times the Golden Horde completely destroyed the Kolomna Kremlin. Fortifications made of wood also suffered from frequent fires. But the city played an important role in the defense of the southern borders of the Moscow principality, so the fortress was rebuilt every time.

Kolomna panorama from Adam Olearius’ book “Description of a Journey to Muscovy and through Muscovy to Persia and Back”.

Grand Prince Vasily III issued a decree on the construction of stone fortifications in Kolomna. At the end of May 1525 the townspeople and residents of the surrounding villages began large-scale work. The project was supervised by the Italian architects invited by the prince. According to one version they could be Aleviz the Big and Aleviz the Little, who built the Kremlin in Moscow. In favor of this assumption says a strong resemblance of both fortresses. The length and thickness of the walls, the size of tower fortifications and the approximate speed of construction coincide.

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The situation of border city remained unsettled, therefore it was decided to build a new fortress gradually, not simultaneously along the whole perimeter. Fortifications of stone and brick were built next to wooden ones. Only when the walls were ready, the parts of the old fort were dismantled.

Monument to Dmitry Donskoy in front of the Marinka Tower of the Kremlin

Six years later the construction of the Kolomna Kremlin was completed. The territory of 24 hectares was surrounded by a two-kilometer wall and 16 towers were built on it. Through four of them it was possible to get inside the Kremlin. The towers were different – round, quadrangular and combined. All of them allowed a powerful frontal and flanking fire on the enemy. And from the side of the Moskva River there was a special construction – the Tavern, which was needed to cover the way to the river during sieges.

In a few centuries the borders of the state expanded significantly, Kolomna stopped playing the role of the southern outpost of the Moscow lands, and Kolomna Kremlin lost its defensive value. Residents were actively engaged in trade and crafts, and the city quickly became rich.

Then funding for the maintenance of the old fortress was no longer allocated, and it began to decay. Residents who dismantled the stone structures for building materials contributed to its growth. When in 1826, Nicholas I issued a decree forbidding to destroy historical monuments, most of the Kremlin buildings had already been lost.

Old Walls and Towers

Architecturally, the Kolomna Kremlin was built as a polyhedron, approaching an oval. Only some parts of the old walls have survived to this day. Judging by them, stone walls rose to 18-24 m, their thickness in the lower part reached 4.5 m, and up to 3 m. Today we can see only seven of the 16 towers – Pyatnitskie Vorota, Pogorelaya (Alexeevskaya), Spasskaya, Semyonovskaya, Yamskaya (Troitskaya), Granovitaya and Kolomenskaya. They have a height of 24 to 31 meters.

The highest tower – Kolomenskaya – is considered to be the most beautiful. It is built as a pillar with a diameter of 11 m. The tower has 20 faces, so it seems almost round. Wooden ceilings divide it into 8 floors, and stone stairs are made to climb up. The top of Kolomenskaya tower is surrounded with a number of decorative machicolations. The defense could be conducted through 27 staggered windows. All of them provided reliable protection of the Moscow-Ryazan road approaching the fortress.

The Kolomna Tower is often referred to as “Marinka’s Tower”. According to one of the legends it was the place of imprisonment of the “Russian Tsarina” and the wife of False Dmitry I – the Pole Marina Mnishek and her juvenile son. The silhouette of ancient tower with an expressive “crown” on top is one of the recognizable symbols of Kolomna. That’s why the tower is depicted on tourist brochures, advertising photos and souvenirs.

In the east of the Kolomna Kremlin there is the Pyatnitskie Gate. This is a wide two-tiered tower. In old times on the upper tier of the Pyatnitski Gates there was a bell, by the ringing of which the inhabitants knew about the approach of the enemy. Not far from the Granovitaya Tower there is another entrance to the Kremlin – the restored Mikhailovsky Gate leading to the churches of the Brusenskaya Convent.

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The Pyatnitskie Vorota icon above the Pyatnitskie Vorota

Churches

In the center of the old fortress stands the large Cathedral of the Assumption. Its history goes back to the second half of the XIV century. The temple appeared in 1382 and became a monument of Russia’s victory at the Kulikovo Field. Three centuries later, a new temple was built instead of the old one. Its upper part was made of bricks, and for the foundation and the white-stone base they used the stones left from the old cathedral.

The Assumption Cathedral is very beautiful. The snow-white two-light quadrangle is crowned with a powerful five-domed dome. The main dome is covered with gilt, and the side domes are painted in bright green color. Today the cathedral is well restored and regular church services are held there.

Cathedral of the Assumption Interiors of the Cathedral of the Assumption Frescoes in the Cathedral of the Assumption Carved platbands of the Cathedral of the Assumption

The highest building of the Kolomna Kremlin – the bell tower of the Holy Trinity Monastery of Novo-Golutvinsky (1825). The style of the building is very different from the standing nearby austere Dormition Cathedral but at the same time it creates a harmonic architectural ensemble.

In the 70s of the XVIII century in Sobornaya square appeared a single-domed church of Tikhvin, which was used for divine services in the winter months, that is, the church was heated. In 1861 it was rebuilt, consecrated three altars. In the 1990s, the old church was restored and the interiors and iconostasis, lost in the last century, were restored.

The bell tower of the Ikhvin church

To the north of the Tikhvin church stands the small but very elegant Church of the Resurrection of the Word – the oldest of the buildings of the Kolomna Kremlin. This is a house church of the princely palace that did not survive, located in the Kolomna Kremlin in the XIV-XVI centuries. It is known that the church was connected with princely chambers by a passage.

In 1366 Dmitry Donskoy was married here to Evdokiya of Suzdal. A logical question arises – why did such an important event did not take place at the Moscow residence of the prince? It turns out that a year earlier Moscow had suffered greatly from fires. In ancient chronicles about the terrible consequences of the Moscow fires it is written: “Pogore without a trace”. That is why the wedding of the prince was transferred to a town near Moscow.

Church of the Resurrection

At Trinity Novo-Golutvinsky monastery you can see the picturesque Trinity Church. This one-domed temple appeared in XVIII century and now serves as the main monastery church. Next to it rises an older Church of the Intercession, which was built at the end of the XVII century.

To the west of the Kolomensky Kremlin there is the Brusenskaya Nunnery, founded in honor of the capture of Kazan by order of Czar Ivan IV the Terrible. In it you can see two ancient churches. The red and white Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross appeared in the middle of the XIX century, to the 300th anniversary of the Orthodox monastery. In the 30s of last century, when there was an active antireligious campaign in the country, the old temple was decapitated. During the Great Patriotic War, it was used as a bomb shelter, and then – as a warehouse. Now the Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross has been restored, and next to it you can see the monastery church of the Assumption with a beautiful hipped bell tower.

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Trinity Church of the Exaltation of the Cross

On the other side, near the Pyatnitsky Gate, rises the empire-style Church of the Exaltation of the Cross. Several centuries ago there was a city bazaar and a wooden church. It was replaced by a stone church in 1764.

Nearby stands an interesting architectural monument – the Church of Nicola Gostiny, one of the first Russian churches built of brick (1501). Its unusual name can be explained simply. The church was erected on money of a wealthy merchant – Vasily Ivanovich Yuriev, who had the title of “the guest of Kolomna”. Curiously, services there were held one hour earlier than in other churches of Kolomna, so merchants could pray and start trading in time.

Church of the Elevation of the Cross Church of St. Nicholas the Gostiny

Museums

These days the Kolomna Kremlin has become a large museum and exhibition site. There are several museums and exhibitions, of which the Regional History Museum occupies the central place. It is located in a two-story merchant’s mansion, built in the XIX century (street Lazhechnikov, 15), and devoted to nature, archaeology, history and culture of Kolomna.

If you come to Kolomna, you can visit the museums of Russian photography (19 Isaeva Street), organic culture (10 Kazakov Street) and the history of housing. Exhibitions and art projects are held all year round in the showroom Brusensky (31 Brusensky Lane), in the Kremlin Court and in the art gallery Liga (5 Lazhechnikova St.).

Kremlin Court Exhibition Hall “Brusensky”

Information for visitors

Kolomna Kremlin is open around the clock and walk around without buying tickets. Each museum has its own schedule, usually they open at 10.00 – 11.00 and finish at 16.30 – 18.00. Some of them you can get only by appointment.

For tourists there are individual and group tours, as well as interesting interactive programs. Specially for the guests of Kolomna thematic, pilgrimage and family tours are developed that allow to get acquainted with the Kremlin’s history and monuments in detail.

An audio guide on the territory of Kolomna Kremlin Tournament of show tournaments Horse-drawn omnibus tours

How to get there

The Kolomna Kremlin is located in the city center between Lazhechnikov Street, October Revolution and Lazarev Street. You can enter it from Lazhechnikova Street and near the Yamskaya Tower.

There are different ways to get from the capital to Kolomna. The two cities are separated by 131 km. The road by car along the Novolazanskoye highway takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes. From the Moscow subway station “Vykhino” to Kolomna runs a bus number 460. Get off at the bus stop “square of two revolutions”.

From the Kazan railway station to Golutvin go electric trains – direct to Golutvin, as well as passing this station electric trains to Ryazan or Lukhovitsy. The trip by train takes 1.50-2.20 hours. From the platform “Golutvin” to the Kolomna Kremlin go streetcar number 3 and shuttle buses number 10U and 18. Go to the stop “Square of two revolutions”. In addition, from the railway station to the Old Town there are buses.

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Kolomna Kremlin – complete guide

Kolomna Kremlin

Old stone forts have been preserved only in 50 Russian cities. One of these medieval wonders adorns the center of Kolomna. Let’s get acquainted with a unique monument of fortress architecture – the Kolomna Kremlin!

History and description of the Kolomna Kremlin

The first Kremlin was built of wood in the 12th century to protect Muscovy from the southeast. The fortified outpost was small and did not save from enemy raids. The Tartars captured the city many times.

In the first half of the XVI century by the will of Grand Prince Vasily III the Kolomna Kremlin of stone was erected on the site of the old fortress. Architecturally it is very similar to the Kremlin in Moscow. Probably the famous Italian architect Aleviz Friazin (Old) was in charge of the construction. The fort fulfilled its purpose and protected Kolomna from nomads – since the middle of the XVI century, the enemies have never conquered the city.

In the XVII century, the Russian state expanded, and the borders were moved further from Moscow. Crafts and trade began to develop in Kolomna. Local residents gradually dismantled the walls and towers of the Kolomna Kremlin for building materials, and by the early 19th century little was left of the powerful fortress. The situation changed after the decree of the Russian tsar Nicholas I in which the tsar ordered to stop the destruction of the historical monument in the center of Kolomna.

What is the area of the Kolomna Kremlin today? The most beautiful fortress in the vicinity of Moscow stretches over 24 hectares. Three sections of high stone walls have a length of 1940 m. There are 7 towers along the perimeter. Historians believe that originally there were 16 or 17 of them.

Inside the Kolomna Kremlin now are two monasteries and several Orthodox churches, ancient civilian buildings, mansions, estates, monuments, museums and exhibition halls. It is interesting to spend a whole day here!

Popular tours of the Kremlin:

Kolomna Kremlin

Monument to Dmitry Donskoy. Photo: yulenochekk / Depositphotos.com.

Churches, cathedrals and temples of the Kolomna Kremlin

In order for monasteries and churches to be protected from enemies, they were built inside fortified walls. There are many Orthodox shrines in the heart of the Russian city, so the Kolomna Kremlin is of interest not only to tourists, but also to believers.

The Assumption Cathedral is the most beautiful building in the center of Kolomna. The majestic five-domed temple was built in the second half of the 17th century on the site of an old cathedral. The spectacular steepled bell tower was added to the temple 10 years later. Step inside and admire the colorful murals and magnificent iconostasis!

Near the cathedral are two old churches. The Church of the Resurrection is famous for the wedding of Dmitry Donskoy and Princess Evdokia, which took place before its altar. The red-brick Tikhvin church appeared later – at the end of the XVIII century. It is adjoined by a fine bell tower of the XVII century.

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The Novo-Golutvin Monastery was located in the Kolomna Kremlin, where the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Intercession Church, stone chambers and a bell tower have been preserved. Nuns keep kennel, where they breed Central Asian shepherds and rare Mongolian-Buryat dogs. Tours around the monastery are conducted by nuns and sisters themselves.

The second nunnery of the Kremlin in Kolomna – Assumption Brusensky monastery appeared in the middle of the XVI century. Its temples and buildings harmoniously combine traditional Russian architecture and classicism.

The Church of St. Nicholas the Gostiny is one of the oldest monuments of the Kolomna Kremlin. It was built in 1501, but little remains of the original building. The appearance of the church was changed by major reconstruction and antireligious persecutions of the last century.

The ornate Church of the Exaltation of the Cross stands where the malls used to be. During the Soviet regime, the church was partially dismantled and given to a cardboard factory. Then the building was restored and the church was returned to its original appearance.

Assumption Cathedral (Photo: Cyclone288 / flickr.com) Assumption Brusen Monastery (Photo: Irinka Irisha / wikimedia.org)

Towers and gates of the Kremlin

The Kolomna Kremlin has survived to this day in very good condition. Of the seven surviving towers, the most attractive is Marinkina, or Kolomenskaya. The 31 m high watchtower is divided into 8 tiers. Its facade seems almost round, but it has 20 faces. The building was called “Marinkina” because, according to legend, Marina Mnishek was imprisoned there.

The original Count’s Tower has a hexagonal exterior and a rectangular interior. It is divided into 5 tiers, each with loopholes. The height of Trinity (Yamskaya), Simeonovskaya, Spasskaya and Pogorelskaya (Alekseevskaya) towers is 24 meters. These are powerful fortifications! The walls are almost 3 m thick at the bottom and 1, 85 m thick at the top.

In the east of the fortress one could see a massive Pyatnitskie Gate – a rectangular tower with the main entrance to the territory of the Kremlin. The second – Mikhailovsky Gate – is in the wall, which connects Granovitaya and Marinkina Towers. They are 3 m wide and 6 m high.

Pyatnitsky Gate of the Kremlin. Photo: blinow61 / Depositphotos.com. Brickwork walls of the Kremlin. Photo: IridaBerilova / Depositphotos.com.

Hours and price of tickets

You can visit the Kolomna Kremlin for free at any time. The area is open to residents and tourists. Take a walk through the ancient streets and enjoy the beauty of ancient churches, mansions and towers!

Temples and monasteries are available from morning to evening. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

For guests of the city conduct sightseeing and themed tours of the Kolomna Kremlin. Collected tours are organized on weekends and holidays, and individual tours are available any day of the week. Walking tours are designed for 1 hour and cost 300 rubles per person.

Most museums and exhibition halls are open from 10:00 to 18:00 or from 11:00 to 17:00. Almost everywhere Monday and Tuesday are days off. Ticket prices start at 100 rubles. Current schedule and information on exhibitions is on the official website of the Kolomna Kremlin.

Description and history of the Kolomna Kremlin.

Ensemble of the Kolomna Kremlin (Photo: step-svetlana / pixabay.com)

Scheme of the Kolomna Kremlin.

Gates and towers of the Kolomna Kremlin.

Markings below (Photo: kolomna-kreml.ru)

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