The Ivan the Great Bell-Tower complex is the key of the Moscow Kremlin's composition. It separates Cathedral Square from Ivanov Square. The ensemble had been constructed for over than three centuries – from 1505 till 1815. It includes three objects of different time: the pillar of the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower, the Uspenskaya (Assumption) Belfry and the Filaret's Annex.

Ivan the Great Bell Tower as a part of the architectural ensemble of Ivanovskaya Square

The Ivan the Great Bell Tower complex had been formed for two centuries. The Bell Tower was constructed of brick and white stone on the site of the dismantled church of St. Ivan Climacus of 1329, so called "under -the Bell" type. It was erected in 1505-1508 by Italian architect Bon Friazin. A century later another one arcade for bells was added to the Bell-Tower so that its total height achieved 81 m. The memorial inscription under the dome includes this information, the year of 1600 and the names of Tsar Boris Godunov and his son Fyodor.

In 1532-1552, a new church was built near the Bell-Tower on the project of Italian architect Petrok Maliy. In late XVII century it was dismantled and transformed into a belfry named Uspenskaya (Assumption). In 1624, Bazhen Ogurtsov added to the Uspenskaya another one belfry with a marquee-top — the Filaret's Annex.

The Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Miniature of the ХVIth centuryChurch of St. Ivan Climacus of 1329The beginning of the Bell Tower constructionSouth-eastern view of the Cathedral SquareThe Ivan the Great Bell Tower complex


In 1812, while retreating from Moscow, the Napoleon's Army blew up the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower ensemble. However, the pillar of the bell-tower survived. The Belfry and the Filaret's Annex were completely destroyed and restored in original dimensions in 1814-1815. At present, 24 bells of XVI-XVII centuries are located on the bell-tower and belfry.

The ground floor of the Assumption Belfry houses an exhibition hall of Moscow Kremlin Museums. Artworks both from the Kremlin's collections and those of other Russian and foreign museums are exhibited in the hall.