The Peter and Paul Cathedral (Russian: Петропавловский собор) is a Russian Orthodox cathedral located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is the first and oldest landmark in St. Petersburg, built between 1712 and 1733 on Hare Island along the Neva River. Both the cathedral and the fortress were originally built under Peter the Great and designed by Domenico Trezzini. The cathedral's bell tower is the world's tallest Orthodox bell tower. Since the belfry is not standalone, but an integral part of the main building, the cathedral is sometimes considered the highest Orthodox Church in the world.|
The bell tower (with spire) is the dominant feature of this cathedral and the fortress. It serves several functions as part of the structure:
It is an architectural symbol, an important part of its shape and of the Peter and Paul Fortress.
It is a part of the imperial tomb - the tombs are on the ground floor.
It is a lightning rod protecting the cathedral.
It is a viewing platform upon which excursions meet each hour from 12:00 till 18:00.
It houses a carillon upon which concerts are periodically performed.
When renovators were cleaning the angel on the spire in 1997, they found a note in a bottle left in one of the folds of the angel's gown. In the note, renovators from 1953 apologized for what they felt was rushed and shoddy work (Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev wanted the angel refurbished for the 250th anniversary of the city that year). It is said that the renovators in 1997 left another message for future generations, but the contents of that message have not been revealed. WIKIPEDIA (12-04-2018)
When Tsar Peter the Great visited the Netherlands in 1698, he heard the perfect tuned Hemony carillons in Amsterdam and Leiden singing all 24 hours of the day, every quarter of an hour automatically. Later in 1717 he visited Flanders incognito and climbed the tower of the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, where he must have heard one of the two Hemony carillons in one of the towers of this cathedral. He was impressed by the sound of a carillon and wanted one like these for his new cathedral in St. Petersburg. So he ordered it in 1720 from the Netherlands. In Amsterdam the only bellfounder in that time was Jan Albert de Grave. He was married to the widow of Claude Fremy. This Claude Fremy was a pupil of Hemony. So Jan Albert de Grave was presumably the bellfounder who made these bells. Some years later he also made a carillon for Potsdam. The people in St. Petersburg could only listen to this well tuned instrument for a short time. In 1756 the tower burned down after a thunderstorm. All bells were lost.|
In 1757, only one year after this disaster a new carillon was ordered from Holland. This time by a bell-founder in Hoorn named Johan Nicolaas Derck. He cast the bells and clockmaker Barend Oortkras from the Hague brought them to St. Petersburg to install them. When he arrived, the tower was not rebuilt yet so he could not reinstall the bells. Oortkras stayed in St. Petersburg, but in 1764 he died in poverty before the tower was finished. This new carillon was installed in 1776 by the German clockmaker Johann Erdmann Rudiger. Rudiger also was hired to play the bells. Bell founder Derck could not tune his bells well, so some of the bells were recast by Russian bell founders in the 19th century. As we still can hear, this was not a success either. That's why in 2001 a new set of 51 bells were made in the south of the Netherlands. The bells were cast and the carillon installed by the Royal foundry workshop Petit & Fritsen from Aarle-Rixtel in North Brabant. The carillon is composed of 51 bells with a gross weight of 15,160 kg; the biggest bell weighs about 3 tonnes, the smallest only 10 kg. The carillon has a range of four octaves, so most classical and modern music can be performed on this instrument.
The Peter and Paul carillon is a gift to St. Petersburg from the Government of Flanders, and more than 350 sponsors from different countries. The contribution was presented in the name of Her Majesty Queen Fabiola of Belgium, the Belgian King Boudewijn Fund, the Government of the Province of Flanders, the authorities of various Flemish cities and communities, including businesses, and financial institutions, cultural communities, schools and universities, and also ordinary citizens of Belgium, Russia, England, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, the USA and Japan. WIKIPEDIA (12-04-2018)