The tallest man in the Russian Empire!

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Fyodor Makhnov wasn’t just a giant. He was a real strongman!

Until the age of eight, Fyodor Makhnov (1878-1912), a native of the Vitebsk Governorate, was developing as a quite ordinary child. But then, he began to grow rapidly. By the age of 14, he had already reached the two-meter mark and did not show any signs of stopping there.

When, a few years later, Makhnov was invited to work in the circus, his height was already 2.39 meters. There is evidence that Fyodor actually was much taller – 2.85 meters. However, most likely, this overestimation was due to the desire of the circus to attract as many spectators as possible.  

The giant man amazed the audience not only with his size, but also with his strength. He easily broke bricks with the edge of his palm, twisted iron bars and straightened them back. 

As part of a circus troupe, Makhnov traveled throughout Europe and North America. During his tours, he even met with U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and his fellow "Cardiff Giant", George Auger (2.26 m).

Fyodor Makhnov and George Auger.

Fyodor married a village teacher named Efrosinya Lebedeva whose height did not exceed two meters. The couple had five children, but none of them could not boast the dimensions of their father.

Makhnov spent the last years of his life in his homeland on the estate he bought near Vitebsk (on the territory of modern Belarus), which the locals dubbed ‘Giant's Farm’. He died in 1912 at the age of just 34 for unknown reasons.

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