Ivan The Great Bell Tower
Museum of the History of Moscow Kremlin Architecture
Beside (not inside) the Ivan the Great Bell Tower stands the world’s biggest bell, a 202-tonne monster that has never rung. The...
North of the bell tower is the 40-tonne Tsar Cannon. It was cast in 1586 by the blacksmith Ivan Chokhov for Fyodor I, whose portrait is...
Ivan The Great Bell Tower information
With its two golden domes rising above the eastern side of Sobornaya ploshchad, the Ivan the Great Bell Tower is the Kremlin's tallest structure – a landmark visible from 30km away. Before the 20th century it was forbidden to build any higher in Moscow.
Its history dates back to the Church of Ioann Lestvichnik Under the Bells, built on this site in 1329 by Ivan I. In 1505, the Italian Marco Bono designed a new belfry, originally with only two octagonal tiers beneath a drum and a dome. In 1600, Boris Godunov raised it to 81m. Local legend claims this was a public works project designed to employ the thousands of people who had come to Moscow during a famine, but historical documents contradict the story.
The building's central section, with guilded single dome and a 65-tonne bell, dates from between 1532 and 1542. The tent-roofed annexe, next to the belfry, was commissioned by Patriarch Filaret in 1642 and bears his name.