Illustrated Description Of Russia

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The "Monarch Bell" of Moscow

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The Great Bell of Moscow

The Great Bell of Moscow
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Close to the tower of Ivan Veliki, and reared on a massive pedestal of granite, stands the mighty bell, most justly named " the Monarch" (Czar Kolokol), for no other in the world may dispute its sovereignty. It was cast by the command of the empress Anne, in 1730, and bears her figure in flowing robes upon its surface, beneath which is a deep border of flowers. It is said that the tower in which it originally hung was burnt in 1737, and its fall buried the enormous mass deep in the earth, and broke a huge fragment from it. There it lay for many years, visited in its subterraneous abode by the enterprising traveller only, and carefully guarded by a Russian sentinel. In the spring of 1837, exactly a century after it fell, the emperor Nicholas caused it to be removed, and, rightly deeming it to be one of the greatest wonders of this wondrous city, placed it upon its present pedestal, with the broken fragment beside it. The fracture took place just above the bordering of flowers that run s roun d the bell,; and this piece is about six feet high and three feet wide. The height of the whole bell is twenty-one feet three inches, and twentyvtwo feet five inches in diameter, and it is in no part less than three inches in, thickness. Seen from even a short distance, surrounded as it is on all sides by objects on such an immense scale, with the lofty Ivan Veliki towering immediately behind it, the impression of its magnitude is by no means striking: it is only when the spectator comes near to it, and stands beside the broken fragment of this metal mountain, or descends the stairs that lead beneath it and looks up into its capacious cavern, that he becomes sensible of its enormous bulk. This giant communicator of sound has been consecrated as a chapel, and the entrance to it is by an iron gate, and down a few steps that descend into a cavity formed by the wall and the excavation under it.

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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855