Front Gate Complex in Kolomenskoye (1672-1673)

The Front Gate complex located at the Tsar’s Courtyard in Kolomenskoye was built in 1673 during the reign of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich. It was the main entrance to the summer residence of the Tsar: it is through the Front Gate that distinguished guests, who arrived to Kolomenskoye by the ‘ambassadorial road’ coming from the Moskva River side, would enter the residence. Russian tsars used to welcome the distinguished guests showing them an ‘ingenious wonder’ – big mechanical lions made by foreign craftsman Peter Vysotsky. ‘On both sides of the gate one could see four wooden lions covered with fake fur resembling that of the lion. Inside those lions there were special mechanisms with a spring making them roll their eyes and roar from time to time’.

In the central part of the Front Gate complex there is a complicated four-storeyed rectangular structure of the Front Gate proper that stands on a white stone socle. The structure had two arched passages built for walking and driving and above them there is the Organ Chamber where the mechanisms activating the lions were located. The clock mechanism was installed on the next storey with tower bells located in the apertures above it. There was a wooden crowned double-eagle covered with white iron and installed on the top of the octahedral tented roof.

On the northern side of the Front Gate there is the stone one-storeyed Chancellery that used to execute house holding functions in the huge Tsar’s estate. On the southern side there is the Colonel’s chamber that used to have an ice-house with a white stone drain for taking water away from the cellars where ice could be melting. During a full-scale complex of scientific examination and restoration held in 2002-2003 the whole structure of the monument (down to the white stone socle) was renovated, which brought back the original appearance of the Front Gate. Thanks to the restoration works some missing elements, including a clock mechanism made in the XVIII century and connected to the tower bells, were found, medieval windows and doorways were reconstructed, in-wall stairways and beams were renovated.

As a result of the restoration works, XVII century beams construction was preserved, stone floors and the interiors of the Chancellery and Colonel’s Chamber were reconstructed, the tented roof was painted according to the XVII century style, original sizes of the Russian ovens were found out. Nowadays visitors can see with their own eyes the Front Gate through which XVII century foreign ambassadors entered the estate arriving for an appointment with Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich.
Today, you can not only see the Front Gate built in the XVII century but also visit the Milestones in the history of Kolomenskoye exposition that was opened in 2004 inside the monument.

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