четверг, 2 сентября 2010 г.

The Third Kremlin Clock Tower

On July 19, 1425, the Italian architect Anton Fryazin (Antonio Gislardi) laid the first stone of the Tainitskaya Tower on the south wall of the Moscow Kremlin.

Tainitskaya Tower from the Moscow River

Aesthetically, the tower is quite effective. It is the oldest of the towers standing today, and its creation marked the beginning of the transformation of the Kremlin from the white-wall fortress of Dmitry Donskoy to the one we see today, similar to a the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. And there is strange in this similarity, as practically all of the architects invited to Moscow by Ivan III were Italians. And an Italian at that time in Russian were called Fryazin, which is why Anton(io) is referred to as such in Russian history books.

It is difficult to believe that at that time the Tainitskaya Tower was one of the most important in the Kremlin. It guarded, together with a second tower, the lowest point in the fortress walls. And it faces the river, the most dangerous of sides, as potential enemies were expected primarily from the south. The tower incorporated well reinforced gates surrounded by an archery perch. The tower was also one of the first to be capped with a roof similar to the ones typical of the Kremlin today.

Tainitskaya Tower in the XIX Century

Today few are aware of the fact that the Tainitskaya Tower, along with Spasskaya and Troitskaya towers, included chiming clock, albeit a small one. The chore of minding the clocks was not considering a prestigious one back in those days, and the archives contain a multitude of complaints from the clock winders. The complaints are familiar ones: years go by without getting paid, no money is allocated to repair the clock mechanisms, the roof is in disrepair… The clock was later dismantled, along with the archery perch, and never restored.

Seven decades after it completion, the Tainitskaya Tower was completely dismantled to make room for the planned Kremlin palace. However, the government couldn’t find enough money to implement that project and the tower was rebuilt in it former form. However, the rebuilt tower was destroyed by the French when they occupied Moscow in 1812. The tower we see today is the third version, rebuilt during the reconstruction of the city after the war.

In 1860, once again according to the designs of an Italian architect, the archery perch was restored. But this time cannon artillery was installed, and they for many years (as in St. Petersburg) were fired every day at noon.

In the early 1930s the cannons were removed as was the archery perch, and to this day the Tainitsky Garden near the tower remains off limits to the general public…

Geogry Osipov


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