The first record of the carillon (tower chimes) in the Moscow Kremlin dates back to 1404. This carillon did not survive to this day but can be considered the ancestor of the chimes decorating the Spasskaya (Savior's) Tower.
According to some data, the chimes appeared on the Frolovskaya (Spasskaya) Tower in 1491.
In 1624 English clockmaker Christopher Galloway made a new clock. He offered to build a tented roof above it.
Peter the Great decided to make a German-style clock on the Spasskaya Tower with a 12-sector hourplate (formerly it was divided into 24 sectors).
In 1767 Empress Catherine the Great ordered to install new chimes for the Spasskaya Tower. They were damaged during the war with Napoleon and restored in 1815.
In 1851-1852 Butenop Brothers recreated the ancient carillon, which survived to this day in its original shape, except for numerous forced restorations.
In 1941 the clock got an electromechanical drive to play The International, a proletarian anthem. Later it was uninstalled and now the clock works without any electronic devices.
In 1995 the carillon was tuned to play The Patriotic Song (the Russian national anthem in 1993-2000) and The Glory by Russian pioneer classical composer Mikhail Glinka.
It turned out that the clock needed three more chimes to play the above-mentioned tunes. It was stopped and the tune of each chime was recorded. After that, it underwent spectral analysis. In 1996 Russian clockmakers managed to restore the original sound.
On June 1, 1999 Russia's main clock was stopped for a complex restoration. Four hourplates, eight hands and 48 figures were uninstalled, underwent thorough X-ray examination, and were covered with undercoat and gold.
This work was done inside the Spasskaya Tower.
The hourplates are 6.12 meters in diameter. The figures are 72 cm in height; the hour hand is 2.97 meters long, while the minute hand is 3.28 meters long.
After that, the carillon was reinstalled and wound up. Today two tunes are played on Red Square: Glinka's The Glory and the well-known former anthem of the Soviet Union composed by Alexander Alexandrov. The new Russian anthem was written on this music. Poet Sergei Mikhalkov, author of both versions, had to write a new text meeting modern realia.