Posted by: nancycurteman | February 5, 2012

The Spasskaya Tower: A Russian Treasure


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The Spasskaya Tower is a Russian treasure. The Gothic-turreted Tower is one of several impressive towers that grace the walls of the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Built in the fifteenth century, the Spasskaya or “Savior Tower,” topped by an illuminated ruby-red star installed by the Soviets, is famous for its Kremlin Clock.

A clock has been on the Spasskaya Tower since the 15th century. The clock has suffered serious damage during many catastrophic events: The Great Fire of 1626, the Moscow fire of 1812, the Bolshevik storming of the Kremlin in 1917 when the clock was stopped by a bullet. Muscovites have restored it several times.

The Spasskaya Tower clock chimes have played everything from religious melodies, a German tune to revolutionary music. Today it plays the New National Anthem of Russia.

Russians have a great deal of respect for their Kremlin Clock. Legend has it that magic dwells in the clock. Russians often cross themselves or acknowledge the clock in some way when entering the Kremlin through the Spasskaya Tower gate. One story tells of Napoleon entering through the gate without demonstrating respect for the clock. His horse reared and his hat fell to the ground. Whether the legend is true or not, there is no doubt that the Russian people treasure their Spasskaya Tower and its famous clock.

More about Russia:

Mastering the Moscow Metro isn’t Murder


  1. Well, hats off to Napoleon!
    Interesting travelogue, there!


  2. I’ve been there. You give a good description.
    Elaine Orr


    • Elaine, I’ve also visited Moscow and the Kremlin. It is an incredible city so full of history. I wish I could have stayed longer.


    • Elaine, I’d love to hear about some of the highlights of your trip to Moscow. It is such a fascinating city.


      • I was not there long, as it was a business trip. We did have free time, and I remember how easy it was to walk around. I bought rolls for breakfast in the subway every day. I was surprised at the disrepair in the Kremlin. This was in about 2001, I think. Actually, I could look it up. The US sent bombers into Yugoslavia after we’d been there a couple of days, so after that we didn’t go out on our own. The Russian women dressed more formally for work than we do. Sounds like a silly thing to remember. I was the only woman I saw in tennis shoes. 🙂


  3. Impressive clock tower. Thanks, NC!


    • The Russians seem to be fascinated by unusual clocks.


  4. Hi Elaine, What interesting insights into Moscow life. You tennis shoe comment reminds me of a funny story. We were to meet a Muscovite friend in Red Square. I made a sign so he could find us. However, he revealed to us that he hadn’t needed the sign to find us because my husband was the only one in the square with a beard and wearing shorts.


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