Tsar Bell – Moscow, Russia - Atlas Obscura

Tsar Bell

World's largest bell sits on the grounds of the Kremlin in Moscow. 


The largest bell in the world lies on a pedestal located on the grounds of Moscow’s Kremlin. Cast in 1735 at the request of Empress Anna Ioanovna, a niece of Peter the Great, the great bell has suffered a long series of misfortunes.

The difficulty in casting such a large bell was blamed for the death of the father of the Motorin family team of Russian craftsmen, who made the bell, after a fire destroyed the derrick that was to lift the bell from its cast. A second fire ravaged the area surrounding the bell in 1737, and the heat from it caused a portion of the bell to shatter. Today, the eleven-ton broken piece lies beside the bell’s pedestal.

The bronze bell is estimated to weigh between 200 and 216 tons and stands 20.1 feet high with a diameter of 21.6 feet. It is sometimes referred to as the Royal Bell or Tsar Kolokol III (“Tsar Bell”). Two prior attempts to cast such a tremendous bell failed, and the bronze from those castings was used in the creation of the present bell.

For a portion of its history, the bell served as a small chapel with people entering and exiting the large opening created when it shattered. Though the bell has never been rung, a legend exists that states that the bell will be miraculously repaired and ring out a call for prayer on Judgment Day.

Know Before You Go

The bell rests on a pedestal at the foot of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in Moscow.

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October 6, 2010

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