The cupola of Moscow's Church of the Lesser Ascension

©Kira Tverskaya/Lonely Planet

Ascension Church


Overlooking the river, the Ascension Church, sometimes called the ‘white column’, is Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve's loveliest structure. Built between 1530 and 1532 for Grand Prince Vasily III, it probably celebrated the birth of his heir, Ivan the Terrible. It was a revolutionary structure at the time, which experts attribute to Italian masters.

As the first brick church with a tent-shaped roof (previously found only on wooden churches), it represents an important development in Russian architecture. This break with the Byzantine tradition would pave the way for Moscow's great St Basil’s Cathedral, which was built 25 years later. There is an exhibit on milestones in Kolomenskoe history in the tent-roofed gatehouse near the church.

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