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The Tsar Bell stands on a granite pedestal at the foot of the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower – one piece is cracked away from the rest of the bell. The impressive size justifies the name “Tsar Bell”
The Tsar Bell was cast in the Kremlin near Ivan square in 1735. It was and remains the largest bell in the world. It weighs 200 tonnes, and is 6m high with a diameter of 6.6 metres!
The bell's surface is decorated with delicate ornamental relief-work, showing the portraits of Tsar Alexei Romanov and Tsaritsa Anna Ioannovna, along with five icons and two illustrations telling the story of the bell's casting.
The Tsar Bell had been intended for the Assumption Bell-Tower. After it was cast it was left to cool in its casting-pit – and thus the problems began. In 1737 a fire broke out in the Kremlin, unrelated to the casting of the bell. The wooden casting-frame that supported the newly-cast bell caught fire, and fire-fighters tried to douse it with water. The water fell onto the red-hot bell, causing it to fracture – a large piece weighing 11.5 tonnes broke off entirely. For many years the broken bell lay in its casting pit on Ivan Square in the Kremlin. In 1836 it was raised out and placed on the pedestal. Now it remains on public view, although it has never rung.
Moscow Kremlin is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River to the south, Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square to the east, and the Alexander Garden to the west. It is the best known of Kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. The complex serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. It is also open-air museum. Tourists can just walk outdoors there or can visit cathedrals, Big Kremlin Palace and the Armory Chamber. The Kremlin Museums were established in 1961 and the complex was among the first Soviet patrimonies inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1990.
The site has been continuously inhabited since the 2nd century BC, and originates from a Vyatich fortified structure on Borovitsky Hill where the Neglinnaya River flowed into the Moskva River. Up to the 14th century, the site was known as the 'grad of Moscow'. The grad was greatly extended by Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy in 1156, destroyed by the Mongols in 1237 and rebuilt in oak in 1339. Later in 1366–1368Dmitri Donskoy replaced the oak walls with a strong citadel of white limestone on the basic foundations of the current walls. This fortification withstood a siege by Khan Tokhtamysh.
Grand Prince Ivan III organised the reconstruction of the Kremlin, inviting a number of skilled architects from Renaissance Italy who designed the new Kremlin wall and its towers, and the new palace for the prince. It was during his reign that three extant cathedrals of the Kremlin, the Deposition Church, and the Palace of Facets were constructed. The highest building of the city and Muscovite Russia was the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, built in 1505–08. The Kremlin walls as they now appear were built between 1485 and 1495. During the Time of Troubles, the Kremlin was held by the Polish forces for two years, between 21 September 1610 and 26 October 1612. The Kremlin's liberation by the volunteer army of Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin paved the way for the election of Mikhail Romanov as the new czar. During his reign and that of his son Alexis, the eleven-domed Upper Saviour Cathedral, Armorial Gate, Terem Palace, Amusement Palace and the palace of Patriarch Nikon were built. During the Imperial period, from the early 18th and until the late 19th century, Kremlin walls were traditionally painted white, in accordance with the time's fashion. During the Soviet period the Chudov Monastery and Ascension Convent, with their 16th-century cathedrals, were dismantled to make room for the military school and Palace of Congresses. The Little Nicholas Palace and the old Saviour Cathedral were pulled down as well. Now the plans of the government are to restore those lost masterpieces. And probably soon the Kremlin will return all its former buildings.