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Ivan the Great Bell Tower

Overlooking the other religious buildings on Cathedral Square, this bell tower stands out with its size, striking design and historical significance.

Ivan the Great Bell Tower held the title of Moscow’s tallest building for more than 400 years, before it was usurped by a Stalinist skyscraper in the 1950s. Despite attempts to have it destroyed, the tower has survived Moscow’s turbulent history and is now a symbol of the city. Learn about its historical significance in the museum and take pictures of the city from its lofty viewing platform.

See the Church of Ioann Lestvichnik under the Bells, which was erected under the orders of Ivan I in 1329. The church was given a new belfry in the early 1500s, but it was architect Boris Godunov who raised the tower to its current height of 266 feet (81 meters) in the 17th century. Napoleon later tried to dynamite the bell tower but failed, an event that helped perpetuate the commonly held belief that as long as the bell tower stands, so too will Russia.

Walk toward the bell tower and you’ll immediately be struck by the scale of the huge bells decorating the white façade, as well as by its regal golden dome. Compare the Ivan the Great Bell Tower with its neighbor, the 16th-century Assumption Belfry. The two buildings have a pleasingly similar design. Both have golden domes crowning their white exteriors and designs that become progressively more elaborate as they head skyward.

Step inside and browse the bell tower’s museum on three stories of the building. Learn more about the Kremlin’s past with multimedia exhibits, which include videos and old plans of the area. Ascend to the viewing platform to get uninterrupted views of Moscow from the air.

Ivan the Great Bell Tower is located on Cathedral Square in the Kremlin, alongside other important religious monuments, such as the Church of the Annunciation and the Cathedral of the Archangel. Ride the metro to Alexandrovsky Sad station to get here. The bell tower has an entry fee and is open every day except Thursdays.


Guide to Exploring around Ivan the Great's Bell Tower


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Best Lodging Options Near Ivan the Great's Bell Tower

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Hotel National, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Moscow ¥18,406
Hotel National, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Moscow

Hotel National, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Moscow

15/1 Mokhovaya Street, bld. 1, Moscow
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Moscow City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bolshoi Theatre and State Historical Museum. Lenin's Mausoleum and Red Square are also within 15 minutes. Teatral'naya Station is only a 4-minute walk and Ploshchad Revolyutsii Station is 10 minutes.

    Hotel Metropol Moscow ¥15,866
    Hotel Metropol Moscow

    Hotel Metropol Moscow

    2 Teatralny Proezd, Moscow
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Moscow City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Maly Theatre and Bolshoi Theatre. TsUM — Central Universal Department Store and Revolution Square are also within 10 minutes. Teatral'naya Station is 6 minutes by foot and Ploshchad Revolyutsii Station is 6 minutes.

      Sadovnicheskaya Hotel ¥5,777
      Sadovnicheskaya Hotel

      Sadovnicheskaya Hotel

      Sadovnicheskaya 20 str. 1, Zamoskworieczje, Moscow
         
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Moscow City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Moscow Kremlin and Red Square. St. Basil's Cathedral and State Tretyakov Gallery are also within 1 mi (2 km). Novokuznetskaya Station is 12 minutes by foot and Tretyakovskaya Station is 15 minutes.

        AZIMUT Hotel Smolenskaya Moscow ¥6,142
        AZIMUT Hotel Smolenskaya Moscow

        AZIMUT Hotel Smolenskaya Moscow

        8 Smolenskaya Street, Moscow
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Arbat, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Arbat Street. Vakhtangova Theatre and Bolshoi Theatre are also within 3 mi (5 km). Smolenskaya Station is 6 minutes by foot and Kiyevsky Station is 12 minutes.

          Marriott Moscow Grand Hotel ¥10,670
          Marriott Moscow Grand Hotel

          Marriott Moscow Grand Hotel

          26/1, Tverskaya Street, Moscow
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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            The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow ¥35,211
            The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow

            The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow

            Tverskaya Street 3, Moscow
               
              5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              This family-friendly Moscow hotel is located in the historical district, within a 10-minute walk of Manezh Square, Bolshoi Theatre, and GUM Department Store. TsUM — Central Universal Department Store and St. Basil's Cathedral are also within 15 minutes. Okhotny Ryad Station is only a 2-minute walk and Teatral'naya Station is 4 minutes.

              Hotel Savoy Moscow ¥14,488
              Hotel Savoy Moscow

              Hotel Savoy Moscow

              3/6, bld.1, Rozhdestvenka Street, Moscow
                 
                5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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                Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow ¥21,340
                Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow

                Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow

                Ul. Balchug 1, Moscow
                   
                  5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Moscow City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Zaryadye Park, Moscow Kremlin, and Red Square. State Tretyakov Gallery and Lenin's Mausoleum are also within 15 minutes. Novokuznetskaya Station is 8 minutes by foot and Tretyakovskaya Station is 10 minutes.