Trinity Tower (Moscow)

Trinity Tower (Moscow)


Description of the Trinity Tower


This is one of the two entrances to Moscow Kremlin, another being Borovitskaya Tower. Constructed in 1495- 99 it is tallest of the Kremlin towers. Tower owes its name to Trinity Monastery of Saint Sergius that once had a mission near its gate. In 1516 it was linked by bridge to Kutafya Tower over Neglinnaya River that once ran through Alexandrovsky Garden. It is now buried underground leaving the bridge seem useless. It was used as an entrance for the patriarchs as well as tsars' wives, daughters and other female relatives.


By order of Peter the Great in 1702, the construction of the Arsenal building began on the burned-out part between the Trinity and Sobakin towers. Two years later, the Emperor ordered a new clock for the Spasskaya and Trinity/ Troitsky towers in Amsterdam, and both mechanisms were installed in 1705. Under the guidance of master Kuzma Ivanov, five workers from the Zhitny Dvor raised 34 bells for chimes to the tower.
In 1707, due to the threat of a Swedish invasion, the gun slits of the Trinity tower were enlarged to match the heavy guns. Peter I also ordered to build bolverki along the Kremlin walls, and to fill the ditches drained in the XVII century with water. In 1707, the loopholes of the tower were expanded for heavy guns, and the Trinity Bastion was built at the base of the gate on both sides of the bridge. After a series of defeats of the Swedish army and the decisive battle of Poltava, the threat of an attack on Moscow disappeared, but the built ditches and embankments remained for a long time.

The chimes installed by order of Peter broke down in 1731. At the end of February 1734, master Johann Christopher Foerster was invited from St. Petersburg to repair them. After inspecting the tower, he submitted the following report to the Senate:

"This Trinity tower is located in a close place, in the walls and in the wilderness, and the music from that tower will not be heard, but it should be the bell music on the Spasskaya tower, because it has become in all its beauty and velmi that bell music and playing in the Palace and in Moscow will be heard.»

Nevertheless, in August 1734, the Senate decided to repair the chimes on the Trinity tower. The missing eight bells for them were taken from the yard of the Cannon order: during the Swedish war, more than 600 bells were transported there "to be poured into cannons". Information about whether the repair of the Foerster was successful has not been preserved. During the Trinity fire in 1737, the tower was severely damaged: the entire clock mechanism burned out, the bells collapsed, and the main one broke through the building's vault.

Further information about the state of the tower is fragmentary: it is known that in 1754, the state Superintendent's office sent the carpenter Erich to fix and activate the clock mechanism, while before the visit of Elizabeth Petrovna in 1775, the clock again needed repair. The inventory of 1776 indicated the presence of" dilapidated and cracks " in the walls of the tower. However, at the funeral of Moscow mayor Grigory Chernyshev in 1784, " the bell musician even played "Holy God"with his hands and feet."
The Trinity gate was damaged in the Patriotic war of 1812, when the Kremlin was mined during the retreat of the French army. From the explosions and subsequent fire in the tower, the main clock bell collapsed again, breaking through four arches. The tower was in a ruined state for more than ten years: only in 1823 the internal ceilings were repaired, but the clockwork was not restored. In 1848, the main bell was moved to the Borovitsky tower.

In the period from 1868 to 1870, the tower was completely rebuilt: it was decided to house the Moscow Department of the Archives of the Imperial court. To do this, the building was dismantled to the very Foundation and re-laid, but in the process many original design details were lost, loopholes were laid. The project was led by architects A. Porokhovshchikov and N. Azanchevsky, according to other sources — Alexey Martynov. During this period, the location of the internal arches and ceilings was changed, slits for the portcullis and the entrance to the former bell tower were laid. The estimate was 31,003 rubles, another 4,589 cost a new weather vane-double-headed eagle. In the adjacent branch strelnitsa since 1870, the office of the archive met, and in the storage of the Trinity tower there were about 107 thousand cases.

At the end of the XIX century, another restoration of the tower was carried out according to the project of the Chairman of the Moscow architectural society Nikolai Shokhin
in 1935, the Soviets installed a red star on the roof of the Trinity tower. Before Soviet rule, the tower had an icon of the Holy Trinity on its exterior. Since this tower was the official entrance for the huge Communist party congresses, the icon was completely removed, and not just plastered as on the Spasskaya and Nikolskaya towers.

The Trinity tower is the highest tower in the Moscow Kremlin. Its current height on the side of the Alexander garden together with the star is 80 meters. Today, the tower gate is the main entrance for tourists to the Kremlin.
Presidential orchestra
Since 1918, when the Soviet government led by Vladimir Lenin moved to the Kremlin, a separate military unit was formed to protect it. It included a special team of 20 people — their duties included musical accompaniment of drill sessions and ceremonial changing of the guard. Since 1922, delegations and representative offices of foreign countries began to come to the Kremlin, and a permanent group of Kremlin musicians was formed to hold official receptions. On September 11, 1938, it received the official title of the orchestra of the commandant's Office of the Moscow Kremlin. Presumably, at the same time, his main rehearsal venue was the Trinity tower. On January 11, 1993, by order of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, the orchestra received its current name-the Presidential orchestra of the Moscow Kremlin commandant's office of the Main security Department of the Russian Federation.