Kolomenskoye is a former royal estate situated several kilometers to the south-east of the city-centre of Moscow, Russia, on the ancient road leading to the town of Kolomna (hence the name). The 390 hectare scenic area which overlooks the steep banks of the Moskva River became a part of Moscow in the 1960s. Kolomenskoye village was first mentioned in the testament of Ivan Kalita (1339). As time went by, the village was developed as a favourite country estate of grand princes of Muscovy.
The earliest extant structure is the exceptional Ascension church (1532), built in white stone to commemorate the long-awaited birth of an heir to the throne, the future Ivan the Terrible. Being the first stone church of tent-like variety, the uncanonical "White Column" (as it is sometimes referred to) marked a stunning rupture with the Byzantine tradition. The church stands up toward the sky from a low cross-shaped podklet (ground floor), then follows a prolonged chetverik (octagonal body) of the church, and then an octagonal tent, crowned by a tiny dome. The narrow pilasters on the sides of the chetverik, the arrow-shaped window frames, the three tiers of the kokoshniks and the quiet rhythm of stair arcades and open galleries underline the dynamic tendency of this masterpiece of the Russian architecture. The whole vertical composition is believed to have been borrowed from hipped roof-style wooden churches of the Russian North. Recognizing its outstanding value for humanity, UNESCO decided to inscribe the church on the World Heritage List in 1994.