One of the main attractions of Kolomenskoye Park in the South of Moscow is that while it has more manicured sections, there’s a fair amount of wilderness you can wander around in too.
We went in late May last year, which is just when the greenery has finally recovered from winter and before it all gets shrivelled by the hot summer sun, and you can spend many happy hours strolling through sunlit glades along largely unfrequented paths if you pick your weather right.
Plus, bits of it overlook the Moscow River, and so you can sit, eat your sandwiches and hunt for ants with a pretty good view.
The hilliness you might be able to detect is also a plus. We might have been able to go for a really excellent scramble up and down some epically steep paths if Mama hadn’t been wearing the wrong shoes. She declined to try attempt it without really grippy trainers and someone else there to help catch us when we took a header off the slope.
Apparently it’s even got a rift in the time and space continuum down there too, the Golosov Ravine, which might explain why they’ve tried to make it so hard to get to. Legend has it that people go into the gully and then don’t come out for years and years. Coooooooool. And one way to survive the immediate future with sanity relatively intact perhaps.
At either end of the park there is more organised fun. If you arrive at the Kolomenskoye metro station end, you will soon come across a particularly unique bit of ecclesiastical architecture, even more venerable than places like St Basil’s on Red Square.
The Church of the Ascension, otherwise known as the White Column possibly because it is constructed in such a way that it doesn’t need any supporting pillars to supplement its toweryness, was built in 1532 and commemorates the birth of Ivan the Eventually Terrible. Yes, I know there aren’t any onion domes or gaudy external painting. Orthodox Christianity does the history of church decoration backwards from a Protestant outlook, and this one is supposedly based on more traditional wooden structures, as well as having an Italian influence.
In fact, dotted around the territory are a whole bunch of other old buildings, because for many years now Kolomenskoye park has been a refuge for distressed, mainly wooden constructions, from all over Russia.
It is also a former royal estate, so some of the stone gateways and suchlike are survivors from their era.
But there are also the remnants of a traditional Russian village, which existed for real until quite recently in the 1980s, allegedly populated by descendants of the peasants who were attached to the Tsars’ estates. Live action bee keeping still takes place there!
Most impressive is the recreation of a magnificent royal palace erected by Alexei Mikhailovich, the father of Peter the Great, which represents the pinnacle of what you could do with wooden architectural design in the 17th Century. You can go inside and examine the fully worked up interiors too, which Mama definitely intends to do sometime in the not too distant future. It’s right next to the metro station at the other end of the park from the great white Church of the Ascension, Kashirskaya. Convenient!
And Kolomenskoye Park frequently holds some of the more interesting outdoor events in Moscow. Mama has her eye on the historical re-enactment festival Time and Epochs, which is scheduled for June. Admittedly this year, they are branching out all over the capital, but their biggest event will still be held in this park.
But when we visited on this particular occasion, what we mostly did is wander around the extensively replanted royal orchard area…
…and look at people photographing the apple blossoms.
Maybe there was some kind of event going on. But since Mama couldn’t find any information about it at the time, she prefers the theory that everybody with a camera just looked out of their window, saw the glorious sunshine, remembered that there hadn’t been any wind lately, and decided to make the most of it.
A number of people bought props and costumes. There were swings trailing white gauze dangling from the trees, people!
We made do with our beautiful selves, as Mama was inspired and got quite enthusiastic about us posing with dreamy expressions while sniffing the dandelions. Hours of fun.
So Kolomenskoye Park is a perfect location for a day in the outdoors in Moscow. If the weather is good, grab a picnic and head out. And don’t forget your camera.
Want to know what else to do in Moscow? Read Mama’s comprehensive guide here.
Address: 39 Andropova Avenue,Moscow
Getting there: The green metro line has two stops you can use for either end of Kolomenskoye Park, Kolomonskoye and Kashirskaya.