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The Valdai Branch
The city of Valdai is located in a picturesque place among lakes and hills covered with light forests. The clean air, healthy water and mild climate make it one of the most attractive resort zones in Russia.
The Bell Museum
One legend takes us to the 15th century, to the time of Ivan III, who put an end to Novgorod's sovereignty and ordered the veche bell, the city's main symbol, transferred to Moscow. But on the way to Moscow while passing the Valdai Hills the bell broke into tiny pieces that scattered in all directions and turned into the clear Valdai bells -- a typical and lively feature of the life of old Valdai.
Today a fascinating Bell Museum, the only one in Russia, in open to the public in the premises of the road court church of St. Catherine (architect N. Lvov, 18th century). The collection features rare samples of bells such as a bell, cast by Russian masters T. Andreev and P. Grigoriev in 1536, German and Swedish trophy bells of the 17th century, Valdai driver's bells of the 19th century, samples of 20th century bells used in churches, railroads, vessels, as well as tiny cow bells and door bells.
Many of the exhibits can be not only seen but heard as well. Three belfries have been installed in the museum's hall. These belfries make it possible to hold spontaneous concerts, as any of the visitors can try the sounds of the bells he liked best.
The museum exhibits can reveal a lot of secrets from the history of bells and bell-making and answer a lot of questions, like: "Why do European bells sign while Russian bells talk?", "What is the malinovy zvon and who invented it?", "How did the Russian roads sound in the 19th century?"
The District Town Museum
Since the old days the history of the city has been entwined with the Moscow high road, which connected the northwestern part of the city with the capital. The popularity of this place determined the occupation and the character of the local population, and reflected on the city's appearance. A visit to the District Town Museum with its original exhibits and photographs revealing the life stories of individuals and families, a walk along the old streets, a ferry trip across the lake to the Iversky monastery founded in 1653 by Patriarch Nikon, allow the fascinated visitor to travel back in time to the olden days, to delve deep into the atmosphere of 19th-century Russian provincial life, to feel its tranquillity, stability and charm.
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