Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Inside the Kremlin

The Palace of Facets, a Renaissance-style building constructed between 1487 and 1491 and named for the stone facets decorating its exterior

Built by Ivan the Great in the 1480s, the Cathedral of the Annunciation (below) was destroyed by fire in 1547 and rebuilt in 1564 by Ivan the Terrible. After his fourth marriage, Ivan was barred by the Orthodox Church from entering a church, so he had a chapel built through which he could view services. In 1572, a new porch known as the Steps of Ivan the Terrible was added to one corner; you can just see a bit of it in the lower left of the next photograph:

Below is the three-tiered Bell Tower of Ivan the Great, built between 1505 and 1508. One of its 21 bells, the 70-ton Uspensky Bell, was traditionally rung three times to announce the death of a tsar. This was once the tallest structure in Moscow and served as a belfry, church and watchtower. The 17th-century upper tent-roof section was rebuilt after being blown up by Napoleon.

At the foot of the main tower, you can see the Emperor Bell...

The Emperor Bell is the largest bell in the world, weighing 210 tons. Designed in 1733, it took two years to cast. An eleven-and-a-half ton fragment broke off during a 1737 fire and the bell was returned to its casting pit, where it lay for the next century. The bell was raised and put on this stone pedestal in 1836 and has never been rung.

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