Exhibition of Mediaeval Bells Opens in Veliky Novgorod


June 6, 2002

Three of Novgorod's ancient bells were damaged
over the centuries and are now on display in a bell museum.


An exhibition of medieval church bells opens in Veliky Novgorod on Friday, it was reported by the Novgorod state joint museum and reserve. Fourteen ancient bells will be on display at the permanent display on the first floor of the Novgorod Kremlin's Sofia belfry. 

Among the displays is the famous 700-kilo "plague bell" from the belfry of the Znamensky Cathedral. It was cast back in the 15th century in the days of Ivan the Terrible when the plague claimed the lives of about 86% of the population of Veliky Novgorod. Those who survived the epidemic raised the necessary money to have a special bell cast, that in the course of several centuries warned the town-folk of an approaching epidemic. 

The display also includes bells from the belfry of the Nikolo-Dvorishchensky Cathedral and the Cathedral of Our Lady's Nativity of the Antoniev Monastery. In spring this year these rare bells were carefully taken off the ancient belfries with the help of building cranes and special devices and brought on lorries to the Novgorod kremlin. Among the displays are also bells from the Spaso-Transfiguration, Varlaam-Khutinsky and Duknov monasteries. 

According to the restorers, these historical rarities are destined to remain there forever, since no restoration will be able to make them "work" again. Most of the bells shown at the display in the Sofia belfry are what experts call "dumb."

The original url of this article was
at english.pravda.ru/culture/2002/06/21/30855.html
Many thanx to Pravda!


May 21, 2002

Veliky Novgorod's Oldest Church bells "Move House"

The oldest church bells in the north-western city of Veliky Novgorod are "moving house".

On Tuesday morning 11 bells from the Church of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin of the Antoniev Monastery began to be transported to the Sophia Belfry of the Novgorod Kremlin, where a Novgorod museum of church bells is being set up. The oldest of the bells, kept in the Antoniev Monastery, was cast in 1536 and the "youngest" dates from the 16th century. The weight of the lightest is more than 100 kilogrammes, while the heaviest tips the scale at about 500 kilogrammes.

Larisa Bannikova, deputy curator of the Novgorod state museum preserve, said that the valuable cargo is inside the church and so a building crane is ruled out. It is planned that the bells will be pulled on an improvised sled to the exit from the church. Then they will be gently reloaded onto trucks. 

Bannikova said that the Novgorod Kremlin will also host the famed 700-kilogramme "plague bell" from the belfry of the Znamensky Cathedral. This bell was moulded in the days of Ivan the Terrible, in the 15th century, and got its name from one of the worst medieval plague epidemics that claimed roughly 86 per cent of the Veliky Novgorod population. It was the survivors who joined together to have a special bell cast. 

The "plague bell", as planned by Novgorod local lore specialists, will grace the future bells museum. 

The original url of this article was http://english.pravda.ru/culture/2002/05/21/29059_.html. Many thanx to Pravda!