Visiting the beautiful Moscow and its Red Square is a great fortune. A stop in the adjacent Kremlin is a must. The entire complex offers an insight into the history and culture of the country. Once inside the walls is the Kremlin Grand Palace, official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. There is also the beautiful Cathedral Square. But to attract the attention of tourists in the central Ivanovskaja Square there is a curious object that does not go unnoticed: the Tsar-puška (commonly known as the Tsar Cannon”).
The weapon was commissioned by Tsar Fëdor I in 1586, two years after he took the throne. The king was the son of the infamous Ivan the Terrible and died without heirs (the only daughter, Feodosia, died at two years). The death of Fëdor I in 1598 created a great power vacuum that caused a phase of instability known as the "Time of troubles". Russia fell into a regime of interregnum marked by different characters and aggressive struggles for power. Michail Romanov’s election in 1613 as the new tsar set the stage of anarchy. The Romanov dynasty remained on the throne until 1917, when it was swept away by revolutionaries.
The giant piece of artillery is a bronze bombard of almost 40 tons, five and a half meters long and with a caliber of 890 mm. The exaggerated dimensions never allowed the use in war. It was made by Andrey Chokhov, skilled builder of heavy weapons and bells. Next to the Tsar-puška stands the same huge Tsar Bell, of over 200 tons and six meters high by six meters in diameter. Commissioned by the Empress Anna I, this object was never used either.
Both the cannon and the bell entered the Guinness primates for their size. The huge projectiles visible today near the Tsar-puška were created as decoration in 1834. According to the original plan the weapon would have to fire grapeshot from almost a ton. The cannon is richly decorated, in particular of the gun carriage at the base which today acts as a pedestal. The original gun carriage was destroyed during the Moscow fire of 1812. A similar fate had already befallen the Tsar Bell, heavily damaged by a fire in 1737.