Nevyanskaya Tower

Dimensions: height – 57.5 m, base in the form of a square with a side of 9.5 m, deviation from the vertical 1.85 m

Locality: Nevyansk

Construction start / opening date: 1721

Original name: Nevyansk tower

The leaning Nevyansk tower is the main architectural symbol of the Ural city of Nevyansk, located not far from Yekaterinburg. It was erected in the very center of the city, and attracts tourists not only from Russia, but also from other countries of the world with its unusual design and interesting history.

The tower was built at the first plant of the metallurgical magnates of the Urals – the Demidovs, today the area on which it stands is called Revolution Square.

History of the building

The time of the construction of the Nevyansk tower is not known for certain, but the date of the foundation is often found in sources – 1721. Historians do not know who developed its project; the Russian entrepreneur Akinfiy Demidov, the founder of the mining and metallurgical industries in Siberia and the Urals, was directly involved in the construction.

Legend has it that the architect who designed the tower was thrown from the tower by order of Demidov so that he could not build the same one for anyone else. But this myth has never been confirmed.

Architects call the structure not falling, but inclined. Both local residents and guides agree with this. There is a legend that the design turned out to be the fault of Demidov himself. In the basement of the tower there was once a workshop with machine tools, the work was carried out with violations. While waiting for the inspector, the basement was flooded by order of Demidov, as a result of which the tower was skewed.

But modern architects, after a thorough examination of the building, refuted this version. The construction itself testifies to the fact that its saber-shaped slope is either an architect’s idea or a mistake during construction. The first tier of the tower deviates from the vertical axis by almost two meters, the upper floors are slightly inclined to the other side. Officially, the cause of the slope is considered to be the erosion of the bank of a nearby pond, along with uneven soil settlement.

Building materials

The tower was built of special heel bricks. To make such a brick, it was necessary to knead the clay for it with bare feet – only in this case it was possible to feel the stones that fell into it and remove them. Egg white and lime flour were added to the finished mashed mass. Then the bricks were fired, and then each was tested for strength – the bricks were dropped from a height of ten meters, and only those who survived after such a test were used for construction.

Exterior

The leaning tower of the Demidovs is distinguished by its high height – 57.5 meters. The width and length of the first tier is 9.5 meters. The tower is installed on a two-storey rectangular building. The lower tier forms a regular quadrangle, the upper three are octahedra with large arched windows. Each subsequent tier is slightly smaller in area than the previous one. The octagonal roof also has a pyramidal shape.

The structure is crowned with a metal spire, decorated with a flag-shaped wing, which depicts the Demidov family coat of arms. In some places, the walls of the tower are pulled together with iron beams, which go out and are secured with special locks. An observation deck is located around the tier with bells.

Interior

Inside, the Leaning Tower of Nevyansk is divided into nine floors, the purpose of which is not known for certain. Demidov’s office used to be on the second floor, then there was a prison here. On the third floor, there is a soot-stained room with silver and gold found in the corners. Legend has it that the Demidovs printed counterfeit coins here, but historians are skeptical about it.

Another room of the tower with a flattened arched ceiling is interesting. It is called the auditory room – if you stand in a corner, you can hear the whisper of a person standing against the opposite wall, but if you stand in the center of the room, you will not hear anything. This feature is due precisely to the shape of the ceiling.

In the schematic image, located inside the tower, the tiers of the building are indicated as follows (from bottom to top):

  • Premises “Factory Archives”.
  • Treasury office.
  • “Assay Horn” (dungeon).
  • Sound room.
  • Clock load mine.
  • Watch mechanism.
  • Bell tower.
  • Attic.
  • “Spitz”.

Peculiarities

Another mystery of the Nevyansk tower is connected with the spire. Archaeologists have discovered a strange structure on it, similar to an ordinary grounding. Presumably the spire was a lightning rod. But if you believe the official history, this cannot be – the lightning rod was invented in 1760 by Benjamin Franklin, that is, at least a quarter of a century later.

One of the main attractions of the tower is the clock. They were installed by Demidov himself, having ordered in England from the watchmaker Richard Phelps in 1730. The clock plays twenty different melodies, strikes every 15, 30 and 60 minutes and always in a new way.

Excursions

Today the Demidovs tower is a historical monument. Tours here are held regularly and start every fifteen minutes and last an hour and a half. The program is rich and interesting. On one of the excursions, you can hear the legend about the reasons for the tilt of the tower, the atrocities of Demidov, who allegedly walled up the workers in the walls. You can also personally print a commemorative coin.

Tours to the Nevyansk Tower are held from 9 am to 6 pm. In addition to the tower itself, in the area you can see other attractions: St. Nicholas Church – one of the first stone, erected in the Urals, an old pottery workshop.

Nevyansk tower in numbers

  • The thickness of the walls is 2 meters (base), 32 centimeters is the last level.
  • The diameter of the new lightning rod is 30 centimeters, the length of the spike-shaped beams is 40 centimeters (the old lightning rod is kept in the museum of the Nevyansk Tower, since it has ceased to perform its functions due to numerous lightning strikes).
  • The length of the weather vane is 1.78 meters, weight is 25 kilograms.
  • The number of bells is 11: 1 bronze (weighing more than a ton) and 10 copper.
  • “Century draft” – 0.9 mm per year.

How to get there

You can get to the Nevyanskaya tower:

  • By private car – following in the direction of Nizhniy Tagil along the Serovskiy tract 65-70 kilometers from the city exit.
  • By bus or fixed-route taxi – to the station “Nevyansk” from the Northern Bus Station.
  • By train – to the station “Nevyansk” in the direction of Nizhny Tagil.

Interesting Facts

  • The Leaning Tower of Nevyansk is recognized as a historical monument and is subject to protection as an object of national importance.
  • More recently, mechanical pressure gauges have been installed on the tower ceilings to monitor the tilt of the structure. So far, no changes have been identified.
  • On the walls of the tower you can see artistic casting, executed on the lacy cast-iron balconies. The used metal is so high quality that no traces of corrosion are still visible on it.
  • Demidov bought the clock of the tower for five thousand rubles. At the time, it was a lot of money. The construction itself cost 4200 rubles.
  • The image of the tower can be seen on the 5 Ural franc bill dated 1991.