Bell museum

Bell museum
The exposition of the museum has been located in this building since June 1995.

Valdai city. Bell museum

The city of Valdai itself is hardly of obvious interest to a tourist. But there is an attraction that is a must-see for almost everyone traveling to Valdai – the Bells Museum.

The museum is located in two buildings. One (in the photo above) is the Church of the Great Martyr Catherine (another name is Lviv Rotunda), which is an architectural monument. It is interesting that the architectural appearance of the Catherine Church is a bell. Therefore, the arrangement of bells in this museum building is clearly not accidental and is very appropriate.

The rotunda project, by the way, was developed by the architect N.A. Lvov, whose works we have already seen in the Tver region – the Znamenskoye-raek estate. Without being a specialist in architecture, the author’s style is quite obvious. This is especially evident in the example of the colonnade.

At first, I reacted to the bell museum with a certain amount of skepticism. Bells are bells. Today their practical application is minimized – churches and temples. However, my skepticism was dispelled by the guide. The entrance to the museum is paid, and the excursion program is paid separately.

The opportunity to listen to the story of a local guide is definitely worth taking advantage of, otherwise a visit to the museum (especially the first part) risks becoming a boring event and at the same time you will not get a lot of interesting information about bells and bells and you will not understand why this item itself is worthy of a separate museum.

For example, I first learned about the variety of types of bells and bells: church, shepherd, coachman, cabinet, door, ship, fire, souvenir, school, wedding … And they all sound differently.

Museum creation
To accommodate its unique exposition, the Valdai Bell Museum and the building have chosen a special one – an architectural monument of the 18th century, the traveling palace church of the Great Martyr Catherine. This church was designed by N.A. Lvov for Empress Catherine II on a high hill, not far from the former Moscow-Petersburg highway. The shape of the church was very common at that time – an elegant rotunda building, but at the same time it also has a colonnade, limited along the perimeter by the protruding part of the altar.

A feature of the exposition is the fact that all the exhibits of the museum can not only be viewed, but also listened to. The bells specially installed on three belfries emit a melodic chime in the skillful hands of the museum workers. The technique and techniques of bell ringers are clearly demonstrated here, and any visitor who wishes can try to extract magic sounds from ancient bells on their own.

Valdai bells became so popular over time that workshops from other provinces began to forge them, putting the Valdai stamp. It is also worth noting that in Russia a bell was invented in which the tongue beats against the dome (the most familiar to us). In Europe, sound is achieved by swinging the dome against the tongue.

It would seem that the difference is insignificant, but the “Russian” method allows you to create bells of much larger sizes.

On the second territory of the museum, the exposition is more extensive. In addition to the bells themselves, here are shown household items mainly of the 19th century, one way or another connected with bells. There are interactive games where the visitor is invited (virtually) to harness a horse or cast a bell. You can also watch documentaries about bells.

Back watch. This is essentially the great-grandfather of the modern taximeter – the passenger could always see the trip time on the driver’s clock, placed on his back, and thus calculate the cost of the trip.

This is how our only day in Valdai turned out. Probably connoisseurs of these places will say that even a week is not enough to appreciate all the beauty of Valdai nature. And yet I am glad that Valdai and the Iversky Monastery were included in our route. But the time has come to move on – to the Northern capital, and on the way we will visit His Majesty Lord Veliky Novgorod.