The Tsar Bell (Царский колокол)

29 December, 2015

Today, I want to share with you an important fact that occurred this day in history on the year of 1735, the production of the world’s largest bell also known as the Tsar Bell.

The empress Anna Ioannovna ordered to produced it, because the first 130 ton version was shattered and cast out into broken fragments in a fire in 1701, so in 1734 the tsarina demanded a new one but heavier and this one weighted 200 ton.

She designated the task to a man from the French Academy, but unfortunately he rejected the project because he thought the idea was too extravagant and impossible to accomplish, instead of him the task was executed a local and experienced craftsman who used to produce smaller bells and artillery quality devices, Ivan Motorin.

Motorin along with his son Mikhail and 200 workers more, started the casting process inside the Kremlin; they organized a deep casting pit, then reinforced it with oak pillars, coated with bricks to mark the outside of the bell and the inside had an iron grid clay form. Part of the decoration also included relief ornament, baroque volutes, angels, inscriptions with its history and the figures of the Tsars Anna Ioannovna and Aleksey Mikhailovich.

The bell’s manufacture took two years and during the smelting process, some of the furnaces went down and lead to an explosion that caused Ivan’s dead; his son continued the final details, with the help of 400 people around the casting pit with fire hoses to prevent accidents, the casting took 1 hour and half.

Due to its excessive weight, the bell was never used for the direct purpose; it was left between the Kremlin’s wall and the bell tower ‘Ivan the great’ after the fire in May 1837 that incurred its rupture. It was left for 100 years on the casting pit and only the architect Auguste Montferrand lifted it and placed it on an octagon granite pedestal.

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