Spasskaya Tower, Moscow

Spasskaya Tower, Moscow

The tallest (71 meters) and the most striking in the Kremlin, the Spasskaya Tower (Russian: Spasskaya Bashnya, “Tower of the Saviour”) is one of Moscow's most emblematic landmarks. To a great extent this is due to the enormous 20-foot (6-metre) diameter clock at the top, commonly known as the Kremlin chimes (Russian: Kremlevskie Kuranty). As well as marking the official Moscow time, this clock indicates the arrival of the New Year. It has been in place since 1491-1585.

The red star on top of the Spasskaya Tower – rotating in 360° – was installed in 1936 by Joseph Stalin replacing the original two-headed eagle, relic of the former tsarist regime.

The tower itself was built in 1491 by the Italian architect Pietro Antonio Solari, commissioned by Ivan III the Great, grandfather of Ivan the Terrible. Initially, it was named the Frolovskaya Tower after the Church of Frol and Lavr in the Kremlin, now gone. The tower's modern name comes from the icon of 'Spas Nerukotvorny' (The Saviour Not Made by Hands), which was placed above the gate on the inside wall in 1658 and removed in 1917. Similarly, it can be attributed to another, wall-painted icon of 'Spas Smolensky' (Smolensky Saviour), which was created in the 16th century on the outside wall of the tower, plastered over in 1937 and then restored in 2010.

The Spasskaya gate reportedly possesses miraculous powers and has always been regarded with great reverence. In tsarist times, anyone passing through it had to dismount their horses, remove headgear and cross themselves. Legend has it that Napoleon could not prevent his horse from taking fright as he rode through the gate, having failed to show his respect, and the French Emperor's hat was said to have fallen from his head.

The practice of doffing the hat and self-crossing is now duly observed, following the restoration of the Saviour Icon, as part of the ceremonial tradition during the Victory Day Parade on May 9. Closed to all traffic, the gate opens only to receive the presidential motorcades on inauguration day, for the Victory parades, and to receive the New Year's tree.

Spasskaya Tower is also the honorific for the annual International Military Music Festival held on Red Square. It's a safe bet that anyone visiting Moscow for the first time will have snaps of the Spasskaya on their camera.
Sight description based on wikipedia

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Moscow, Russia within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Spasskaya Tower on Map

Sight Name: Spasskaya Tower
Sight Location: Moscow, Russia
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Moscow, Russia

Create Your Own Walk in Moscow

Create Your Own Walk in Moscow

Creating your own self-guided walk in Moscow is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Arbat Street Walking Tour

Arbat Street Walking Tour

The historic center of Moscow is primarily associated with the Arbat, one of the oldest surviving streets in the city, dating back to the early 15th century. The origin of the name “Arbat” is subject to numerous hypotheses referring to the Russian, Tatar, Persian and even Arabic words, meaning "bumpy" or "cart" road, "suburb" or "outskirts", etc.

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Communist Moscow Tour

Communist Moscow Tour

The arrival of Communist ideology left indelible imprint in the history of the 20th century, largely affecting the lives of people, arts and architecture. Having been at the heart of the Soviet empire for almost 70 years, Moscow is a great destination for everyone interested in the Soviet heritage, the traces of which are found all over the city.

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Red Square Walking Tour

Red Square Walking Tour

There's hardly a place in Russia more popular than Moscow's Red Square. Situated in the center of the city, Red Square indeed represents in many ways the very heart of the Russian capital and the whole country. Built in the late 15th century, it has since been a focal point in Russia's social and political life, witnessing many historic events: executions, demonstrations, and...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Moscow Introduction Walk

Moscow Introduction Walk

Moscow (Russian: Moskva) is the capital and the largest city in Russia. Cosmopolitan as such, it is the nation’s political, economic, cultural, scientific and religious center. The city's name is thought to have derived from that of the Moskva River upon which it stands.

The first known reference to Moscow dates from 1147 and is associated with Prince Yuri Dolgoruky, the city's...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles

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