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Ivan the Great Bell Tower
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The complex of the Ivan the Great Bell-tower located on the border between the Sobornaya (Cathedral) and Ivanovskaya (of Ivan) squares is the compositional center of the Kremlin. It had been being created for over three centuries from 1505 till 1815 and consists of three different sites: the pillar of the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower, the Uspenskaya (Assumption) Belfry and the Filaret's Annex.

The bell tower was erected from 1505 till 1508 by Italian architect Bon Fryazin. After a century it has received another level of bells, and its height has reached 81 meters. This is reminded by the memorial inscription under the dome, containing the year of 1600 as well as the names of Czar Boris Godunov and his son Feodor. From 1532 till 1552 a church was built next to the bell-tower according to the project of Italian architect Petrok Maly. At the end of the 17th century it was transformed into a belfry called Uspenskaya (Assumption). In 1624 Bazhen Ogurtsov added the Filaret's annex, a bell-tower with a pavilion roof.

In 1812 Napoleon's troops retreating from Moscow blew up the complex of the bell-tower, but the pillar "Ivan the Great" resisted. The Belfry and the Filaret's Annex were destroyed to the ground, but they were restored to their original dimentions from 1814 till 1815. Today there are 24 bells of the XVIth and the XVIIth centuries on the bell-tower and the Belfry.

On the first floor of the Assumption Belfry there is an exhibition hall of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, where works of art from the Kremlin collection and other Russian and foreign museums are exhibited. And the museum dedicated to the history of the architectural ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin is located in the unique monument of ancient Russian architecture, the Ivan the Great Bell-tower. The exposition of the bell tower presents original fragments of the white stone decor of the ancient buildings of the Kremlin, known only from annalistic references. The visitation of the museum is accompanied by individual audio guides. After the audio tour visitors go to the bypass gallery, from where they enjoy a beautiful view of the Kremlin and the surrounding area from a bird's eye view.

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The complex of the Ivan the Great Bell-tower located on the border between the Sobornaya (Cathedral) and Ivanovskaya (of Ivan) squares is the compositional center of the Kremlin. It had been being created for over three centuries from 1505 till 1815 and consists of three different sites: the pillar of the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower, the Uspenskaya (Assumption) Belfry and the Filaret's Annex.

The bell tower was erected from 1505 till 1508 by Italian architect Bon Fryazin. After a century it has received another level of bells, and its height has reached 81 meters. This is reminded by the memorial inscription under the dome, containing the year of 1600 as well as the names of Czar Boris Godunov and his son Feodor. From 1532 till 1552 a church was built next to the bell-tower according to the project of Italian architect Petrok Maly. At the end of the 17th century it was transformed into a belfry called Uspenskaya (Assumption). In 1624 Bazhen Ogurtsov added the Filaret's annex, a bell-tower with a pavilion roof.

In 1812 Napoleon's troops retreating from Moscow blew up the complex of the bell-tower, but the pillar "Ivan the Great" resisted. The Belfry and the Filaret's Annex were destroyed to the ground, but they were restored to their original dimentions from 1814 till 1815. Today there are 24 bells of the XVIth and the XVIIth centuries on the bell-tower and the Belfry.

On the first floor of the Assumption Belfry there is an exhibition hall of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, where works of art from the Kremlin collection and other Russian and foreign museums are exhibited. And the museum dedicated to the history of the architectural ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin is located in the unique monument of ancient Russian architecture, the Ivan the Great Bell-tower. The exposition of the bell tower presents original fragments of the white stone decor of the ancient buildings of the Kremlin, known only from annalistic references. The visitation of the museum is accompanied by individual audio guides. After the audio tour visitors go to the bypass gallery, from where they enjoy a beautiful view of the Kremlin and the surrounding area from a bird's eye view.

The idea of the "heavenly ladder" was imprinted in the external appearance of the building by Kalita, which united the church and the bell tower. The type of the temple with a tier of bells in Ancient Russia was called "izhe under the bells". Even more clearly, the image of "Lestvitsa" was embodied in the existing pillar of the Ivan the Great Bell-tower erected on the site of the white stone church of St. John of the Ladder within the period from 1505 to 1508.

The Belfry was built by Italian Bon Fryazin, who was obviously a relative of Lombard architects and sculptors named Bon, who worked a lot in Venice. At first, its walls were painted brick red with white stone details, which gave the impression of a naked constructive frame (scapula on the corners, cornices between the tiers and under the ringing holes). Below there was a small church of St. John of the Ladder.

The extraordinary lightness and slenderness of the tower-like structure is achieved by the composite construction of volumes: each next tier decreases in diameter and height and has a barely perceptible conical shape. The two lower tiers end with open taps. The upper ringing, which is at the base of the third octagon, smoothly passes into a round drum, the top of which is crowned with a head. The smooth walls in each tier are cut with slit windows; they are false in the drum. Decor of the bell tower: angled spatulas, shallow niches-hollows and figured inter-level cornices, is reserved and laconic.

The octagonal volume of height and silhouette, as well as a modest architectural decor, the "Lombard" arches resembles the Italian campanile bell-towers, but they were almost always tetrahedral. Having chosen a more complex octagonal form, the architect probably followed the Russian tradition. In addition, the ropes of the bells of the European bell-towers descended down a special inner well, and the Russian bell-ringers preferred to pull the ropes, standing on the ground near the walls of the bell tower. There is an assumption that the bells of Ivan the Great were attached to wooden ramparts. To shake the bell the shaft was turned with the pole fixed to it with a long rope at the end.

Initially, the pillar of the Ivanovskaya (of Ivan) bell tower was noticeably lower. Its top beginning with the beautiful necklace of kokoshnik of the third tier is built up under Boris Godunov, as the inscription under the dome says: "By the sanction of the holy Trinity, by the command of the great sovereign of the Czar and the Great Prince Boris Fedorovich of all Russia, the autocrat and son of his blessed Great Prince, the Prince and the Great Prince Fyodor Borisovich of All Russia, the temple is made and gilded in the second summer of their reign".  It is believed that the superstructure did not meet any functional needs. It represents a hollow brick cylinder with false windows. There were several reasons for its implementation: to approve a new dynasty, to give work and bread to the people and also to allocate city-planning to the Kremlin among the sprawling Moscow. The 81-meter-high Ivan the Great bell-tower proudly raised his plump head over the Kremlin cathedrals, but the charitable act did not help Godunov. According to a legend, False Dmitry wanted to arrange a church for the courtiers of Marina Mnishek in the structure of the bell-tower he constructed.