Lonely Planet review
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this was a public works project designed to employ the thousands of people who had come to Moscow during a famine, but historical documents contradict the story.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.