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Moscow Arthur Lookyanov
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The Tsar Bell in Ivan Square

The Tsar Bell in Ivan Square

This picture of Tsar bell I took while I was waiting my clients from the special tour to the Grand Kremlin and Faceted Palaces, 1 hour before we saw our Patriarch in the Cathedrals Square.

The famous Tsar Bell stands on a huge pedestal nearby Ivan's The Great bell tower. This bell is a masterpiece of Russian craftsmen at first half of 18 century, who made attempt to cast the third time the largest bell in World Tsar Bell (number 3) with by ambitious project - weight 200 tons, height - 6 meters and diameter - 6,3 meters. For example, the previous Tsar Bell, which was casted in middle of 17th century was largest active bell in human history and had the weight about 130 tons, but it was broken in 1701 during a fire in Moscow Kremlin.

In 1734 our Empress Anna I (Ioanovna), who took Russian throne after death of Peter I (she was his niece), ordered and commissioned production of the new Tsar Bell fulfilling the dream of her grandfather, Tsar Alexei Michailovich. At first she turned to foreign craftsmen, but received excuse for this ambitious project. Only Russian craftsmen Ivan Motorin and his son agreed to make attempt to cast it and they called about 200 experienced craftsmen and the new Tsar Bell, which was finally casted in 1735, was decorated with bas-relief portraits of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich, empress Anna Ioannovna, and also adorned with vegetation ornament in the baroque style and images of saints, angels and inscriptions telling the story of the bell.

By official version which you can learn in all guide books and even from the official Kremlin guides, in May 1737 the bell was still on casting pit underground, but terrible fire came out from a terrible Troitskiy (Trinity) fire broke out in Moscow and spread to the Kremlin buildings. When the flames on the scaffolding around the bell were being extinguished, cold water fell on the bell itself. The difference in temperature caused it to crack, and a huge piece of 11,5 ton broke off. This is official version, but not trustful for professional bell ringers who after long researches proved that it must was a mistake of craftsmen during casting process and only the mistake of craftsmen who made the wrong forms could course appearance of many cracks around the basement of the bell after the metal started to cool down inside the form. More information about the Tsar Bell, history of Russian bells and traditional styles of bell ringing in Russia you can learn at the exciting tour to the museum of bells.

PS: The broken Tsar Bell remained in the earth for almost 100 more years and was lifted up and placed on a large stone pedestal in middle of 19th century by famous French architect Auguste Montferrant who also built the famous Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

With BEST Regards,
Arthur Lookyanov
Tour to the Moscow Kremlin
Last Edited: April 13th, 2008

Photo taken on 2008-04-07 at 10:52:33

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You are welcome to visit web site of Moscow Guide Arthur Lookyanov.
Allen Sumsion Allen Sumsion
From: Bountiful, Utah, USA
Date: 2007-07-10 03:45:00

We finally arrived home after a very eventful trip to Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Egypt. However, one of the most memorable times was our day with you in Moscow. Thank you for spending the time with us.

We didn't know what the process would be when we arrived at the Moscow airport nor did we really know if you would be there to meet us. We were just a bit apprehensive. Not only were you there but you were there before we were and you were ready to escort us around. You had the day planned so that we could crowd as much into it as possible. You seemed to know what we would enjoy best and enjoy it we did. St. Basil's Cathedral, in my mind, is one of the Wonders of the World. I am impressed with your knowledge of history.

One highlight for me was getting back to the airport. I have never seen traffic like that before. Where else do sidewalks become a lane of traffic or where unused oncoming lanes become lanes going our direction? Even you seemed amazed at the driver who negotiated the heavy traffic going backwards. That was the most fun trip I have ever made in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I realize you didn't plan that but thanks for it anyway.

Not only did we enjoy our time with you but you created enough interest that I would like to return sometime and have you show me more. I have one request. The borsch at the restaurant that you took us to was wonderful. You mentioned that your mother's borsch is better. Is there any chance she would share the recipe with us?

Thank you for the fun day. To anyone who reads this or would like to contact me, I would give you my very highest recommendation. Thanks for adding to our adventure.

Allen Sumsion