Great Lavra Bell Tower

Great Lavra Bell Tower was built in 1731–1745 in the classical style. Before its appearance there were only wooden “belfries” in Lavra that were destroyed in 1718 by the Great Fire. In 1721, at the request of Lavra hierarchy, Fedir Vasyliev, the architect, worked out the project of the five-tier brick-built bell tower 88 m high. However, ten years have passed before the construction of the Great Lavra Bell Tower began. The works were accomplished under the supervision of Johann Gottfried Schaedel, the German architect. He significantly modified the previous project of the bell tower, removing one of its tiers and increasing the height of the bell to 96 m 52 cm. Due to these changes the Great Lavra Bell Tower has become the highest brick building in the Eastern Europe and preserved this status for a long time. About 5 million bricks and 20 thousand tons of lime were spent to construct it. The foundation of the Bell Tower is granite; wall thickness is 8 m 52 cm and depth of occurrence is from 4 to 6 m. The thickness of the walls of the first tier is 8 m and its diameter is 29 m. The dome is covered with 3.5 kg of gold leaves. The whole construction of the Bell Tower is adorned with numerous ceramic architectural details.

The bells were installed on the third tier. By the end of the 19th century the number of bells accounted for 12, their total weight being 96 tons. On the fourth tier there is a great chiming clock installed in 1903 by the watchmaking company of Andrew Yenodin. The ringing of a big bell marks hours, the jangle of small bells, which makes chime melody, is heard every fifteen minutes. The total weight of the mechanism is 4.5 tons. On two upper tiers of the Great Lavra Bell Tower there are several spaces protected by balustrades and arranged so that the visitors can have beautiful panoramic view of the city.

In the 1930s, the Great Lavra Bell Tower lost most of its bells, and during the Second World War it suffered a massive fire. Its major restoration was carried out in 1957–1963. The last significant repair and restoration work of the bell was held in 2010–2014.

In the middle of the 18th century the Great Lavra Bell Tower started leaning. Today the angle of slope, which is 62 cm from the axis, stays practically unchanged.

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