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Cannons and bells have always had a special relationship. They are made from the same metals and often in the same factory. Throughout history, bells have been melted to make cannons during times of war, and cannons have been melted to make bells during times of peace. It is not surprising, hence, that the biggest specimens of both share the same grounds of the Moscow Kremlin, lying less than a hundred meters from each other.

The Tsar Cannon

The Tsar Cannon is a 40-ton behemoth with a caliber of 890 mm, considered to be largest in the world. It was built in 1586, by master bronze craftsman Andrei Chekov at the behest of Tsar Theodore I, the son of Ivan the Terrible. Unfortunately, the cannon was too large to have any practical purpose as firing a solid cannonball from its barrel would have caused it to wreck. For a long time, it was thought that the canon was never used but late 20th century analysis revealed that it had been fired at least once, possibly a grapeshot rather than a cannonball.

tsar-cannon-4

Photo credit: Jorge Láscar/Flickr

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