The archaeological findings presented at the exposition permit to name Kolomenskoye one of the most ancient places of human habitation on the territory of modernMoscow. Primeval hunters of the Stone Age, cattle breeders and farmers of early Iron Age (the so-called Dyakovo culture) and later on the Slavic tribe of Viatichi populated the bank ofMoskvaRiverin its lower course. The first written source in which Kolomenskoye is mentioned dates back to 1336. From XIV to XIX century, thevillageofKolomenskoyeand its outskirts were owned by the sovereigns. It is the history of the Tsar’s Courtyard of Kolomenskoye that most of the exposition focuses on. The XVI century is illustrated by glazed tiles, arms and ammunition of the Russian warrior, old printed and manuscript books, icons and other archaeological findings, including those connected with the rule and the personality of Ivan the Terrible.
The XVII century is considered the most important point in the history of the Tsar’s residence in Kolomenskoye. A model of the wooden palace built under the Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich and surviving for a hundred years (1666 – 1767), authentic XVII century icons, books, homeware, portraits of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich and his second wife Tsarina Natalia Kirillovna permit altogether to imagine what the life at the palace was like in the reign of Peter the Great’s father. At the surviving Prikaz chambers (Chancellery) one can see a reconstruction of palace chancellery interiors of the second half of the XVII century that is unique inMoscow. At the Organ chamber situated at the middle level of the Palace Gate, a unique collection of tower clocks dated from XVII to XIX century is on display. The most ancient surviving clockwork made by Russian masters dates back to 1539 is and is among the exhibits.
The history of Kolomenskoye in the XVIII and XIX centuries, palaces of that time and their royal owners (Peter I, Catherine II and Alexander I), palace life, décor of the churches of Kolomenskoye and its outskirts, as well as every-day life of Kolomenskoye volost (rural district) peasants – all of this you can see and imagine at the Chambers-over-the-Icehouses (Colonel’s chambers). A unique collection of white stone details dated by XVII – XVIII centuries, among them the décor of Lion Gate and Sukharevskaya Tower of Moscow Kremlin and details of demolishedMoscowchurches, is shown for the first time at the newly restored XVII century ice-house basements.
The exposition at the last two halls of the Palace Gate consists of church art objects collected and preserved at the museum. The collection of icons depicting ancient Russian cities and monasteries as well as Russian saint was put together by architect and restorer Peter Baranovsky in the early period of museum history. The icons presented give the visitor a chance to look at the famous places with the eyes people who lived in the XVI – XIX centuries and serve as a valuable source for researchers specializing in ancient Russian architecture and restorers.
Sacraria and church archives where ancient icons, books in precious cases, church vessels, vestments and crosses were stored for centuries serves as a prototype for the Golden Chambers exposition. The highly ancient tradition to use gold, silver and precious stones in church art is connected with the belief that all these materials are never time-worn and thus symbolize eternity and heavenly life. As gold was quite a rare thing inRussia, most of churchware was made of silver and gilded. At the exposition you will find icons and crosses dated from XVI to XVII century and decorated with wrought silver and thin hammered plates made of gilded silver, and worship books in silver cases. Gilded carving on wood became popular in Russian church art in the XVII century: carved iconostases, icon kiots and architectural details were part of church decor of the time. Leaf-gold was used for gilding. The wooden sculpture, iconostases details, book, icons and other churchware carefully collected by the museum staff in the 1920s and the 1930s, a period not favourable for church art, not only leave the contemporary visitor surprised at the great skill of ancient masters but will allow you to feel the medieval atmosphere and get involved in thoughts and feelings of our ancestors.