Moscow-District, The Kremlin and Red Square - Ken Zaremba Photography

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Tsar Bell, Russian Kremlin, Moscow

The Tsar Bell also known as the Tsarsky Kolokol, Tsar Kolokol III, or Royal Bell, is a 6.14 metres (20.1 ft) tall, 6.6 metres (22 ft) diameter bell on display on the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin. The bell was commissioned by Empress Anna Ivanovna, niece of Peter the Great. The present bell is sometimes referred to as Kolokol III (Bell III), because it is the third generation. The bell is decorated with relief images of baroque angels, plants, oval medallions with saints, and nearly life-size images of Empress Anna and Tsar Alexey, who was reigning at the time the previous Tsar Bell was cast. However, before the last ornamentation was completed, a major fire broke out at the Kremlin in May 1737. The fire spread to the temporary wooden support structure for the bell, and fearing damage, guards threw cold water on it, causing eleven cracks, and a huge (11.5 tons) slab to crack off. The fire burned through the wooden supports, and the damaged bell fell back into its casting pit. The Tsar Bell remained in its pit for over a century. Unsuccessful attempts to raise it were made in 1792 and 1819. Napoleon Bonaparte, during his occupation of Moscow in 1812, considered removing it as a trophy to France, but was unable to do so, due to its size and weight.

It was finally successfully raised in the summer of 1836 by the French architect Auguste de Montferrand and placed on a stone pedestal. The broken slab alone is nearly three times larger than the world's largest bell hung for full circle ringing, the tenor bell at Liverpool Cathedral.

For a time, the bell served as a chapel, with the broken area forming the door.

EuropeGeographyKremlinMoscowMoscow DistrictRussiaRussian FederationRussian KremlinDistrict