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Danilovskiy Monastery

Danilovskiy Monastery

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Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon

Tsar Bell
On a stone base at the foot of Ivan the Great is the largest bell in the world. It was cast in the Kremlin by the master Ivan Motorin and his son Mikhail. In all eighty-three people helped to cast the bell and about two hundred assisted with its manufacture and decoration.
Tsar BellThe Motorins' creation was ill-fated, however. After casting the Tsar Bell remained in the moulding pit for two years. In 1737 a terrible fire broke out in Moscow and spread to the Kremlin buildings. When the flames on the scaffolding around the bell were being extinguished, water fell on the bell itself. The difference in temperature caused it to crack and a huge piece weighing 11.5 tons broke off. In 1836 the Tsar Bell was lifted up and placed on a stone pedestal.
The bell weighs 200 tons and is 6.14 metres high with a diameter at the base of 6.6 metres. Its sides are adorned with fine reliefs showing Tsar Alexis, son of Michael, and his wife Anne, as well as inscriptions relating the history of this remarkable specimen of Russian metalwork.

Tsar Cannon
A little further off, towards the Trinity Tower, stands the famous Tsar Cannon on a decorative gun-carriage. In the sixteenth century no country in the world had cannons like this. It weighs 40 tons and the barrel is 5 metres 34 centimetres long and 15 centimetres wide with an 890 millimetre calibre. Царь-пушка The Tsar Cannon was made of bronze by the master Andrei Chokhov at the Moscow cannon foundry. It was intended to defend the Kremlin Saviour Gate. But the cannon's fate was similar to that of the bell. Just as the latter never rang, so the Tsar Cannon never fired, although it was intended for military use.
The decorative gun-carriage on which the cannon stands was made of iron in 1835, as were the hollow iron cannon-balls.

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