Here’s a little cemetery that I just happened to come across. After debating again and again whether or not to go see the Kremlin, I finally gave in, only to give up once I arrived and saw how long the lines were. So instead I went to the open air park/ museum of Kolomenskoe. The village of Kolomenskoe is quite old – founded in 1237 and later became a Tsar’s estate. Eventually the grounds were converted to a historical site and park, and it’s well-used by local Moscovites. It’s home to the World Heritage Church of the Ascension of the Lord, built to honour the birth of Ivan (the Terrible). There are plenty of other buildings here, some original, some brought from other places. The park is so huge there are buses to get you from one end to the other, although if you had at least half a day you could probably see all of it. Unfortunately I knew that I only had a little time there, with rain beginning to sprinkle when I arrived, so I had to make some hard decisions about what I wanted to see. Of course, I first went to the church mentioned above, but when I looked on the map it appeared that there was another church elsewhere in the grounds that appeared to be surrounded by a cemetery. So of course I had to check it out.

After walking though some barely-there paths and up and down several flights of wooden stairs, I finally came across the Church of the Beheading of St John the Baptist (we certainly don’t have names like that for churches back home!). It had a classic Russian look (although not quite the onion domes) and it was surrounded by a lightly forested area, which also happened to be the cemetery. The cemetery is barely there – there were a few crosses and headstones scattered about the grounds, but I have a feeling that many more were there that have been lost to time. Although the flora is allowed to grow there, someone is clearly tending to the graves (most late 19th/early 20th century) as nearly all of them had newish fake flowers on them. It was a nice small place to walk around, although I would probably be a little spooked out if I came across something like that in a random wood somewhere.

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Quality of Monuments: There are very few monuments here, most are of crosses or small slabs. There are a few stone coffins bundled together at one end of the cemetery near the church.

Cemetery grounds: Mostly overgrown, although there are paths that cut through the growth. It’s a small area that surrounds the church, so it doesn’t take that long to explore.

Visitors: Most visitors are there to see the church, even though the cemetery is right there I was the only one walking through it.

Photographer notes: Can be a bit dark if overcast. Most monuments are covered by vegetation or are sunk into the ground.



Cemetery: I don’t know if it has an official name, so I’ll call it Kolomenskoe Park Cemetery.

Inaugurated: Date unknown. The church is (apparently) structurally similar to St. Basil’s in Red Square, which was originally built from 1555-1561. It’s likely that the church and cemetery are from slightly after that time. (?) Like many other cemeteries, it was razed during the revolution, which would explain why there are so few intact graves or monuments there.

Location: Inside Kolomenskoe Park and Estate. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the main gate. You do need to go up and down several flights of stairs (or climb the banks of the hill) to get to it. The nearest metro station is Kolomenskaya. The park is free but some of the buildings have nominal entrance fees.

Hours: 09:00-19:00 (although the park is open later in the summer months – the sign said until midnight, although information online says 22:00).