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Published: July 21st 2014
Living in Moscow is not easy, but extremely interesting and adds a new touch to my life. Today, I went to Kolomna, a town 100 km from Moscow, by commuter train (about 2 and a half hours).
I have read about Kolomna in advance – I better not do it because I was perplexed by the name “Golutvin” (the directions were something like – take the commuter train to Golutvin station), but the nearest station is called Kolomna. Both stations are within the same town, but Kolomna seems nearer to the sights: I saw several high bell towers and church domes from the elektrichka window, and wanted to get off. However, I got off at the terminus, called Golutvin. I had to take a tram from Golutvin station to the centre. I got out of the tram near the Soviet Square and Kolomna Hotel, and proceeded along October Revolution Street. I suppose European people must be scared by such names. I’m not. It was sunny and hot and clean everywhere.
Kolomna left a profound impression on me. From the beginning, I saw variously coloured neat two-storey timber and stone buildings, and the amazing setting disclosed itself upon my approaching
the Kremlin and entering the town’s historical center. From that moment, it held me in spell and I even thought it was the best Kremlin I saw in Russia. It was inspiring – when I got up in the morning, I did not want to go nowhere.
Kolomna was first mentioned in the chronicles in 1177 as a frontier post of Ryazan Principality and a trading handicraft centre. At the turn of XIV and XV centuries, Kolomna was the second richest town after Moscow in the Moscow Principality.
The robust stone Kremlin was constructed in 1525-1531, enhancing the town’s strategic role. By that time, the Moscow Czardom had already annexed the Novgorod Republic and Pskov and was trying to fortify the southern borders in struggle against Tatars – the Kazan and Crimean Khanates. In addition to stone walls, the Kremlin had the so-called “walking” (‘guliay’) towers, built into a wall in case of damage, and enemies had never captured the Kremlin since then. Though persisting in war, the Kremlin failed to withstand the ‘attacks’ of time and local residents who dismantled the majority of walls and towers in XVIII – the beginning of XIX centuries for building materials.
Nowadays, the fortress exists only in remains, though losing none of its formidability.
Nearby the Kremlin, I saw a statue of Mr. Lenin and the bus station. Kremlin has tall red-brick walls and several towers scattered in the area. There are a lot of nice old churches of colourful appearance. Inside the old grounds, I saw timber buildings with carvings, very neat streets, peaceful, quiet, and colourful, beautifully arranged flowerbeds. There is democracy everywhere – you can do whatever you want except breaking the laws and harming others.
The Sobornaya Square is imposing with its statue of Cyril and Methodius, Churches of Ioann Predtecha (the beginning of XVI century), tabernacular Uspenskaya Church (1522), Bogoyavlenskaya Church (1680), Voznesenskaya Church (1799), and others. All are in excellent state.
The town has buildings of various architectural styles: the classicism, baroque, to name a few. Classicism is the most popular style. Brick architecture flourished in the town in the end of XVIII – the first half of XIX centuries, giving rise to many merchant houses.
I came to the end of Kremlin and bought two buns of local production. They also sell ‘pastila’ (marshmallow) and have a museum of it.
Kolomna Pastila is an old Russian sweet made of whipped apple sauce with addition of sugar, honey, egg whites, berries, nuts. Then I returned to the Sobornaya Square to see the nunnery. It had excellent flowerbeds adorning a colourful church. It’s really no use describing things, one has to see them for one’s own.
After the monastery, I approached the river bank and saw some people resting on grass and a huge modern building – it is a giant sports hall looking quite out of place in the vicinity of Kremlin (it is an ice-skating rink).
On my way back to the train station, not far from the Kremlin wall, there grow apple trees right in the street near the sign post. I wanted to have a McDonalds bite but it was overcrowded.
One more sight was left – in the map I found the War Memorial. I like all things reminding us of the Great War. The park includes the Walkway of militant glory of Kolomna citizens, perished during World War II, the eternal flame, the monument to the perished soldier’s mother and to the gunmen’s courage. During the war, the park location was used as
a mass grave site.
I took tram back to the Golutvin Train Station and went to Spar supermarket. Near the trading center, I saw red flags and the placard ‘Help Donbass’.
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