Ivan The Great Bell Tower

The bell tower of Ivan the Great: ancient history in action

An illustrative example of ordinary consciousness: the majority of people, something somewhere once when they heard about Ivan the Great bell tower, take for granted that the bell tower this is directly related to Ivan IV the terrible. In principle, the logic is clear: Ivan the Great in Russian history is called of Ivan IV, the bell tower is located in the Moscow Kremlin, therefore, there is every chance that it was built by order of Ivan the Great and named in his honor. Is the case when the simplest logic is the logic not correct – after all, nothing to do with the bell tower of Ivan the Great Tsar Ivan Vasilievich Grozny nicknamed has no…

The bell tower is in three stages

In fact, the beginning of the story refers to 1329, when the Moscow Prince Ivan Kalita ordered to build a stone Kremlin in the Church bell tower, dedicated to Saint John Climacus, who was the patron Saint of the Prince. The Church bell tower is the original type of the Christian Church, widespread in the Middle ages almost exclusively in Russia and representing the Orthodox Church, which is directly above the Shrine was erected the superstructure for the establishment of the bells. Thus, there was a separate bell tower, and the bells became a part of immediate architectural ensemble the Church. In the beginning of XVI century, this Church was dismantled and rebuilt with the participation of Italian architects, while retaining its dedication to Saint John Climacus – this time in memory of the recently deceased Grand Duke Ivan III.

In the thirties of the same century were laid the middle tier of the bell tower, which was an immediate superstructure over the Shrine. About 60 years the bell tower was in the form of a truncated tower, red and only around the year 1600, during the pontificate of Boris Godunov, it was built the third and highest stage, which made the Church-belfry of St. John Climacus the tallest building in Moscow, with a height of 81 meters. And the name “Ivan the Great bell tower”. According to researchers, was the result of confusion in the popular mind the dedication of the temple John Climacus and the Grand size of the building. And began to call this amazing building “bell tower of Ivan the Great”.

The bell tower almost died in 1812, together with all the Moscow Kremlin, which has taken the capital the soldiers of Napoleon’s army looted the Kremlin, removed the gilded cross from the bell tower and mined the whole of the Kremlin architectural complex, but the explosion managed to be prevented. After the war the bell tower was completely restored with the introduction of some elements characteristic of the last century.

“High sitting, look away”

When talking about the bell tower of Ivan the Great, almost always mention the height and other architectural and engineering features, forgetting about its direct functional purpose – to facilitate the most loud bell ringing. At present the bell tower is 34 bell, 21 of which bell is a historic treasure, they were cast in XVI-XIX centuries. The main ones are two bells: the assumption (weighing more than 65 tons, transfused from the more ancient bell in 1819) and Howler (weighing around 33 tons, was cast in 1622, was injured in 1812, in 1855, fell, killing several people, was subsequently lifted and installed to its original place).

In architectural terms, the Ivan the Great bell tower is a three-tiered tower of elongated tapered upwards octahedrons. Each octahedron has a terrace and an open gallery with arched spans in which are placed the bells. The thickness of the walls of the first tier is 5 meters, the second – 2.5 meters.

The lower tier is divided into three floors, the upper floor is an open on all eight faces of the gallery that surrounds the Playground for the bells, and is separated from the lower emphatic line of the cornice. The lower floor of the first tier is a solid mass of masonry, in the center has small space for the Church. The second floor is almost the same solid mass in the center of which is an octagonal space, repeating the external shape of the main pillars of the bell tower.

The second tier in form, and on the principle of moving from more deaf and massive volume to the open gallery is related to the first tier, but it is pronounced “rhythm” upward verticals. The third tier is an octagon with arched openings in each face and bypass gallery, surrounded by a high parapet. The transition from the top of the octagon to round a drum, the employee base for the head, emphasized by a wreath of decorative corbel arches, arranged in a circle on the bottom of the drum.

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