December 20th, 2011

Cigarette

The belfry in Kalyazin. The legend of the bell.

The significant part of Kalyazin (the town in Tver region which is on the Volga river) was submerged after the Uglich hydroelectric dam had been constructed in 1939. All the buildings in the flood zone should have been demolished beforehand. The Cathedral of St. Nicolas was blown up and its ruins went down under the water, but several tiers of the belfry, that strangely enough was not destroyed remained above the water.

Rumor has it that when the Cathedral was being blasted the huge large-tonnage bell that had hung up in the belfry fell down. Having broken through all the floors it sank deep to the vault of the belfry. Shortly after that the place except the upper tiers of the belfry was covered by water.
A couple of years passed when the inhabitants of the town and nearby villages were suddenly awoken by increasing boom that sounded like a tocsin from under the water. The people were worried and frightened. The next day the Great Patriotic War (the war with fascist Germany, 1941 – 1945) broke out.

The bell ringed afterwards several times and always it was a warning of tragic events coming. In October 1948 it ringed so loudly that waves arose on the surface of the water. The next day the destructive earthquake wiped the city of Ashgabat off the face of the earth.
The last time the bell sounded was in 1979 when Soviet troops entered Afghanistan and the war which took away thousands of lives started.

Rumors about the bell spread widely and the government decided to get rid of the bell being afraid of the people’s unrest. A suction dredge filled the basement and lower tiers of the belfry in with the sand and a full barge of crushed stone was unloaded above. The belfry stand on a small island now and nobody has heard the tocsin for recent 30 years…

This is a beautiful and terrible legend, and nobody can tell how much truth is in it.

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