Church of the Ascension - History and Facts | History Hit

Church of the Ascension

Nagatinsky Zaton District, Moscow, Russia

The Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye, Russia was built to celebrate the birth of Tsar Ivan IV and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

History Hit

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Church of the Ascension

The Church of the Ascension is a sixteenth century church in Kolomenskoye built by Prince Vasili III in the south of Moscow.

History of the Church of the Ascension

Grand Prince Vasily III – ruler of Moscow from 1505 to 1533, and often mockingly known as Vasili the Adequate – commissioned the Church of the Ascension to celebrate the long anticipated birth of the heir to the Russian throne, Ivan IV Vasilyevich. Ivan, who was born on 25 August 1530, would become known as Ivan the Terrible. The Church of the Ascension was consecrated on 3 September 1532 and was revolutionary for its time. Kolomenskoye, where it stands, was a former royal estate.

Unlike other Russian churches of the time, this was probably built by Italian architects – masters of their trade. It’s also the first brick church with a tent-shaped roof found in Russia: a break with tradition that would be echoed with the construction of St Basil’s Cathedral, built 25 years later by Ivan himself to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. The white stone and Renaissance details are some of its dominant characteristics.

Alterations have been made over the centuries, particularly brickwork renovations in the 19th century, along with some decorative and ornamental work. In 1994, it joined UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites due to its contribution to Russian ecclesiastical architecture

The Church of the Ascension today

Nestled in the Kolomenskoye Reserve, overlooking the river, the church is particularly attractive and worth a visit for its significance – it’s closed Mondays. The interior is smaller than you’d expect from outside. Kolomenskoye also provides a pleasant respite from the intensity of central Moscow, and exploring the park for a day or an afternoon is a lovely way to

There is an exhibit on milestones in Kolomenskoye history in the tent-roofed gatehouse near the church.

Getting to the Church of the Ascension

The Church of the Ascension is located deep in the Kolomenskoye Museum Reserve, on the edge of the Moskva River. The nearest metro stations are Kashirskaya (south) or Kolomenskaya (north): both are about a 2km walk through the leafy parkland to access the church itself. A map is helpful as there are lots of paths and it’s easy to get lost or distracted in the wealth of surrounding buildings.

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