The Summer Palace of
Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich at Kolomenskoye
'Eighth Wonder of the World'

The wooden palace of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich has been rebuilt at the former royal estate of Kolomenskoye, near Moscow
Video: Vesti News. Language: Russian. Duration: 4 minutes, 44 seconds

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The Summer Palace of Tsar Alexis Mikahilovich at Kolomenskoye

Kolomenskoye is a former royal estate situated several miles to the south-east of Moscow city-centre, on the ancient road leading to the town of Kolomna (hence the name). It was here that Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich built an elaborate wooden palace in the second half of the 17th century.

The history of Kolomenskoye is intertwined with the history of the Russian monarchy and the summer palace built by Tsar Alexis was to become a favourite for both himself and his successors. Alexis himself often came to Kolomenskoye to enjoy falconry and to receive foreign officials. It was a home for Peter the Great during his early years, and it was here that his daughter, the future Empress Elizabeth Petrovna was born in 1709. It was the scene of festivities marking the coronations of Catherine I, Peter II and Empresses Anna and Elizabeth. Peter II often hunted in the woods nearby, and in the late 18th century Catherine the Great used to come here with her grandchildren, including the future Emperor Alexander I.

During his reign, Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich had all the previous wooden structures in Kolomenskoye demolished and replaced them with a new great wooden palace, famed for its fanciful, fairy-tale roofs. It exemplified the asymmetrical beauty of Russian wooden construction, and foreigners referred to it as Ďan eighth wonder of the worldí.

The palace, built without using saws, nails or hook, contained an intricate combination of some 250 rooms, a maze of corridors and porches decorated with carving and various elements like hipped roofs and other roofs unusual in form, weathercocks, and gilded figures of double-headed eagles. The original palace survived for 100 years.

During the 18th century, after the Russian court moved to the new capital of St Petersburg, the palace fell into disrepair. As a result, Catherine II refused to make it her Moscow residence. On her orders the palace was demolished in 1768.

Fortunately a wooden model (commissioned by Catherine the Great) and several drawings of the palace survived, and the Moscow Government begun its full-scale reconstruction in the 1990s. Builders used a special kind of wood that was found in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia.

The palace opened in March 2010. Surprisingly, a number of items originating from the original palace had been preserved in museums and have now found a home in the palace.

On the ground (main) floor, the historic interiors of the audience chambers, inner chambers (that of the Tsar, the Tsarina, i. e. the tsarís wife, and the Tsarevitch, the Tsarís son), as well as the Tsarís mylnya (bath) will be recreated, and museum expositions will be arranged. The basement that historically used to serve as administrative premises will be modernized to house the museum infrastructure.

The restored palace is a far cry from what the structure looked like under Tsar Alexis. Rather, it is in sync with what it looked like right before the demolition in late 1760s, experts say.

Compiled by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia
Sources: Voice of Russia, Vesti News and Discovering Moscow: the Complete Companion Guide

**Photos added 7 February, 2011**

Photos ©

The Summer Palace of The Summer Palace of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich at Kolomenskoye: PHOTO ALBUM

The Summer Palace of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich at Kolomenskoye