Photos by: Lyubov Zolotova

Those who wish to experience some of a more provincial Russia and immerse in its cozy atmosphere will love Kolomna, an old town 100 km away from Moscow.  It is ideal for a one- or two- day visit.  The town is relatively small but its cultural life is thriving.  It hosts an entire cluster of fantastic little museums, most of which happen to be private, set up by passionate admirers of Russian heritage and crafts.  Besides the well-known Pastila (Marshmallow) Museum and Factory (see my post about it below), many more deserve your attention, namely: The Blacksmith Quarter (Кузнечная слобода);  The Museum of flax and female crafts (Музей льна и быта русской женщины); The House of Samovar (Дом Самовара); and The Soap Shop&Museum.  Together, these interactive museum projects form a fascinating creative cluster with unique collections, enthusiastic owners and guides, and fantastic souvenirs.


The Blacksmith Quarter (Кузнечная слобода)

This museum was set up by a local blacksmith and a passionate collector of traditional forged pieces, Ilya Lebedev.  The museum is made up of a forge (where you can take part in a smith craft workshop), an impressive collection of forged pieces, and a gift shop.  The vast collection numbers over 10,000  forged items, from ancient chain mails, armor, church items, hunting and fishing gear (hooks, harpoons, traps etc) to various household articles including forged sleighs, cabbage knifes, elaborate locks and many other fascinating items. The museum guides do a fantastic job telling insightful stories about the craft and the long gone life traditions.

Where: Ул. Гражданская, 84, Коломна, Московская область

Official website:


The Museum of Flax and Female Crafts (Музей льна и быта русской женщины)

This cute little museum sits next door to the Blacksmith Quarter in a traditional Kolomna house.  The museum was founded by a local resident, Natalya Ryabtseva, and it hosts a collection of ancient flax (linen) items including holiday clothes of late 19th century, traditional towels, table cloths, as well as multiple household items associated with flax and linen-making craft. The collection is a joy to the eye and provides a glimpse of numerous jobs involved in the growing of flax and making of linen cloth, from rough canvas and ropes to the finest fabric, which in the 19th century was much in demand in Europe.    For a little extra, you can have a photo shoot in traditional linen clothes and a Russian tea ceremony. Don’t miss the gift shop where you can get fine linen clothes as well as organic food products made from flax seeds and flax-seed oil.

Where: ул. Гражданская, 80 г. Коломна, Московская область

Official website

The Soap Shop & Museum (Торговля мылом Г.И.Суранова)

This tiny museum hosts a beautifully arranged exposition of Russian soaps and perfumes of late 19th– early 20th cc. including those produced locally.  In the near future, interactive educative programs will be conducted for children and adults acquainting visitors with the traditional soap-making process and the history of the craft. The museum’s highlight is a fantastic selection of fragrant fully organic soaps (both dry and liquid), scrubs  and perfumes made following traditional recipes.  A job well done!

Where: ул. Зайцева, 18 Коломна, Московская область

Official website:



The House of Samovar (Дом Самовара)

Last but not least is an absolute must-see for all lovers of tea traditions, the Samovar House.  Founded and funded by local residents, the Burov family, this museum hosts one of the biggest collections of samovars I’ve seen so far.  The collection embraces over 500 samovars of different  shapes, sizes and purposes, dating from late 17th to early 20th century.  All items were purchased and restored by the family itself. Among the highlights are a 250 year old sbitennik  (the samovar’s ‘ancestor’ used for keeping sbiten’, a traditional hot honey drink)  and the huge barrel shop samovars, as well as a number of oriental samovars.  A traditional tea ceremony is a must!  A photo shoot in traditional Russian costumes is much recommended!

Where: ул. Посадская, д. 11 Коломна Московская область

Official website: