About Tsar Bell: Tsar Bell

Another piece of the Russian foundry art, the Tsar Bell, is at the foot of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the Ivanovskaya Square. It was cast in the reign of the tsarina Anna Ioannovna by the well-known craftsman of that time Ivan Motorin. The weight of the bell reaches 200 tons.

When the Anna of Russia ordered to cast a bell of 10 thousand poods (16.8 kg), the son of Field Marshal Münnich turned to the European foundry masters who considered it as a joke to cast a bell of such proportions, and so the Russian foundry master Ivan Motorin was entrusted with the task of casting the Tsar Bell.

As it was impossible to transport the bell of such size, the pit for its casting was dug at the foot of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. The casting work began in 1734. During the casting of the Tsar Bell the masters were faced with a great number of difficulties and furnace failures, but they continued to work. And even after the death of Ivan Motorin in 1735 the work was continued by his son Mikhail.

In 1737 a big fire occurred in Moscow, during which the wooden scaffolding over the pit where the bell was being cast was burnt. By one of the versions, it was at the time that the pit was flushed with water in an effort to extinguish the burning beams that there appeared cracks on the Tsar Bell, and a piece of 11.5 tons broke off from it. However, it is more likely that all this resulted from the violations in the casting process and subsequent breaking-down of the bell by the son of the well-known master who hadn't yet enough experience.

As it was impossible to restore the piece, which broke off from the Tsar Bell, it was left in the pit for over a hundred years. From time to time they tried to lift the bell, but succeeded only in 1836. At once the Tsar Bell was put on a special pedestal and was left at the foot of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower as a monument to the art of Russian foundry men.

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