Russian version
Novgorod Architecture / The Kukui Watch-Tower

The Kukui Watch-Tower

A little to the north of the Prince's Tower we can see the somewhat unusual outline of the Kukui Watch-Tower which is 32 metres high. Until the 17th century this spot was occupied by a squat tower with completely blind walls, the upper platform of which was used for mounting cannons. The lower section of the present structure is made of limestone and rubble faced with brick, like all the other old towers of the citadel, and is actually part of the earlier one. The latter's height did not exceed that of the adjoining walls. It was divided into two tiers inside. When the residence of the military governor (voyevoda) was being built in the 1690s the tower was redesigned by Yefimov and became the main tower in the residence. Three more tiers were added to the rectangular base, which were then topped by two progressively diminishing octagons. The new edifice was very different from the austere simplicity of the older towers and most untypical of Novgorodian architecture. The arrangement of two octagons on a rectangular base was very popular in Moscow architecture of the late 17th century. The ground floor was turned into a wine cellar, the first floor contained a "treasury chamber" and the second had two chambers divided by a passage which led to the firing platform on the citadel wall. The top octagon was called a "chamber for surveying the whole town". The main purpose of the building was to serve as a watch-tower and its name would appear to derive from the Dutch word meaning "to look". The tower had a wooden tent-shaped roof, seven metres high, the top of which was crowned with a gilded orb and the Novgorodian standard. Above the latter there was a gilded copper crown. Inside of the citadel the tower was adjoined by a building that reached the level of the lower octagon. Parts of it have survived and you can see the abutments of the arches on the wall of the tower.