Since Kalyazin Bell Tower (74.5 m/244 ft) is located 200 km (124 mi) from Moscow, we recommend you to visit this landmark in the course of the Golden Ring of Russia tour. Kalyazin is surrounded by ancient Russian towns Sergiyev Posad and Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, with Uglich and Kashin being situated even closer.
Let’s start with the history of this unique place.
Kalyazin Bell Tower
Advanced projects in the USSR
It is widely accepted that hydroelectricity has several advantages. In the first half of the 20th century Soviet engineers did a lot to promote the further development of this energetic sphere since the ever-growing industry needed more power generation capacities.
In modern Russia a significant part of electricity is generated from renewable energy sources, with hydroelectricity playing a major role.
Before ecology was established as a scientific discipline economic feasibility had been a key factor to decide whether to fulfill or shut down a project.
Among advanced Soviet projects there was the building of Uglich hydroelectric power plant which required the creation of Uglich water reservoir. This project represented cutting-edge technologies. In 1935, it was finally launched.
Besides, Uglich hydroelectric power plant is one of the first in the USSR and still draws many industrial tourists.
The building of Uglich water reservoir
In order to build Uglich hydroelectric power plant it was necessary to flood many settlements and their surrounding territories.
Nikolsky Monastery (1694) with Kalyazin (Nikolsky) Bell Tower (1800) fell within the flooding zone. In the 1930-1940s no one was concerned about the destruction of the monastery since the Soviet campaign imposed the idea that “religion is the opium of the masses”. Indeed, the communist ideology would not tolerate any other ideological rival.
Nikolsky Monastery with Kalyazin (Nikolsky) Bell Tower as they were before flooding by the unknown author
Under this antireligious campaign many cathedrals and churches were demolished or roughly rebuilt for housekeeping needs.
However, Kalyazin Bell Tower was left intact. The reason is that the Volga River changes its flow there and the bell tower was used as a lighthouse showing the safe fairway to passing barges.
The water reservoir and hydroelectric power plant were built by large labor forces, including prisoners, Komsomol volunteers and even captured Germans.
During these construction works Nikolsky Monastery and two quarters of the town Kalyazin were completely destroyed.
The surroundings of Kalyazin are also famous for its radio telescope RT-64 which is still functioning.
It is the second-largest radio telescope in Russia, with the diameter of its dish being 64 m (210 ft). Its impressive size will hardly leave anyone cold.
The functional Orthodox church
During the summer prayer services are regularly held near Kalyazin Bell Tower.
Kalyazin Bell Tower
Souvenirs from Kalyazin
The town Kalyazin also hosts the factory producing felted wool shoes. Nearby there is a special store where you can buy famous Russian valenki.
Photos by Anton Cherniak