Ivan the Great Bell Tower

Jon Ayres

Moscow, Russian Federation

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Artist's Description

The Ivan the Great Bell Tower is the tallest of the bell towers ringing the Moscow Kremlin complex, with a total height of 81 meters (266 feet). It was built for the Assumption, Archangel and Annunciation cathedrals, which do not have their own belfries, and is said to mark Moscow’s precise geographic center.

Following the death of Ivan III (also called Ivan the Great) in 1505, his son Vasily III ordered new tower as a monument to honor his father. From 1505 to 1508, the new bell tower was erected next to the church on the foundation of the old tower, which gave it its name. At first, it had 2 belfries on different levels, but in 1600 on the orders of Boris Godunov it was raised to its present height. Until the building of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, it was the tallest building in old Moscow, and it was forbidden to put up any building in Moscow which was taller than the Bell Tower.

The view from this bell tower is really something else, why not many tourists go up the bell tower to photograph the Kremlin is beyond me.

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