An exhibition of medieval church bells opens in Veliky Novgorod on Friday, it was reported by the Novgorod state joint museum and reserve. Fourteen ancient bells will be on display at the permanent display on the first floor of the Novgorod Kremlin's Sofia belfry.
Among the displays is the famous 700-kilo "plague bell" from the belfry of the Znamensky Cathedral. It was cast back in the 15th century in the days of Ivan the Terrible when the plague claimed the lives of about 86% of the population of Veliky Novgorod. Those who survived the epidemic raised the necessary money to have a special bell cast, that in the course of several centuries warned the town-folk of an approaching epidemic.
The display also includes bells from the belfry of the Nikolo-Dvorishchensky Cathedral and the Cathedral of Our Lady's Nativity of the Antoniev Monastery. In spring this year these rare bells were carefully taken off the ancient belfries with the help of building cranes and special devices and brought on lorries to the Novgorod kremlin. Among the displays are also bells from the Spaso-Transfiguration, Varlaam-Khutinsky and Duknov monasteries.
According to the restores, these historical rarities are destined to remain there forever, since no restoration will be able to make them "work" again. Most of the bells shown at the display in the Sofia belfry are, what experts call "dumb."
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969