Tsar Bell

Landmark in Kremlin & Kitay Gorod

Beside (not inside) the Ivan the Great Bell Tower stands the world’s biggest bell, a 202-tonne monster that has never rung. Bas-reliefs of Empress Anna and Tsar Alexey, as well as some icons, are etched on its sides.

An earlier version, weighing 130 tonnes, fell from its belfry during a fire in 1701 and shattered. Using these remains, the current Tsar Bell was cast in the 1730s for Empress Anna Ivanovna. The bell was cooling off in the foundry casting pit in 1737 when it came into contact with water, causing an 11-tonne chunk to break off. One hundred years later, the architect Montferrand took the damaged bell out of the pit and put it on a pedestal.