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The Tsar Cannon

The Tsar Cannon in Moscow Kremlin This unique artillery piece was cast at the Moscow Cannon Foundary in 1586. A bronze cannon more than five meters long with a calibre of 890 millimetres, it was made by the court craftsman Andrei Chokhov. This gigantic weapon weighs more than 39 tons. Since 1960 it has stood on a gun-carriage in Ivanovskaya Square surrounded by vast cast-iron cannon balls, each of which weighs about a thousand kilos. The cannon balls are purely decorative, as the Tsar Cannon has never been used in military action, although it was originally intended as a powerful weapon in the Kremlin's defences. It was most likely designed to fire grape-shot, hence its other nickname: "Russia's Shotgun". The gun's barrel is decorated with figurative reliefs and a portrait of Tsar Fedor Ioanovich on horseback. Thanks to its unusual measurements this is one of the largest and oldest cannons in the world, and has earned the proud name of Tsar Cannon.

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