Kazan, one of the biggest and most
important cultural and industrial centres on the Volga River, with
a population nearing 1.2 million made up of 77 different ethnic
groups, is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, which in 1994
was the first of the former republic of the Russian Federation to
sign a bilateral treaty with Russia, thus showing the way to create
a new Federatoin on the basis of mutual agreement and voluntary
In the XIII century Volga Bulgaria suffered
from the mongol Batu-Khan aggression. In 1236 Bulgaria was conquered
and annexed to Golden Horde. Golden Horde was the largest medieval
state of Eurasia, the heart of rich civilization, represented by
classic symbiosis of prior nomadic and new city cultures. The true
masterpieces of medieval Tatar literature were created here.
After the final downfall of Golden Horde
in the third-fourth decades of the XV century in its vast area were
formed separate Tatar states. They include Kazan Khanate (1445)
situated in the northern boundaries of Volga Bulgaria from the river
Sura in the west to the river Belaya in the east. Kazan became the
capital of Kazan Khanate. The XV century and the first half of the
XVI century was the period of prosperity of Kazan Khanate and its
The main population of Kazan Khanate
consisted of descendants of bulgars and new-comers kipchako-tatars.
Their culture, religion and written language were adopted from Volga
Bulgaria and Golden Horde. In the period of Kazan Khanate and other
Khanates (Crimean, Kasimov's, Siberian and Astrakhan) the formation
of the Tatar Nationality was finished.
As a result of armed conflicts, fires and rebuilding, among architectural
constructions of Kazan Khanate Epoch only Suyumbika Tower (Khan's
Mosque) and Nuraliev Mosque reserved on Kremlin territory.
According some of Tatar legends, Suyumbika
Tower was erected at the tomb of Kazan Khan Safa-Girey by his wife
- Queen Suyumbika. Today it is one of the "falling" towers
(deviation from axis is 194 cm).
Kazan, which like Rome stands on seven hills, is the capital of
the ancient people and country whose names, though familiar, are
shrouded in misconceptions. The people are the Kazan Tatars; the
country is Tatarstan. Situated, as a result of historical circumstances,
in the very heart of Russia, only eight hundred kilometres to the
east of Moscow, Kazan is the capital of a multi-national republic
that occupies the area between the Volga and the Ural Mountains.
The Tatars have their own language, their own culture, their own
age-old traditions and festivals, their own faith, but their past
has been and remains intertwined with the history of Russia in the
most dramatic and sometimes fateful way.
Under its spell Kazan was transformed
from a small frontier Bolgar town into a powerful citadel of the
khans and a world-famous trading capital on the Volga; its spell
overthrew Kazan, turning it into a captive without rights; its spell
made it rise again, but in the form a capital of a huge province...
With another sharp turn of history. Kazan became in 1922 the capital
of an autonomous Soviet republic and traversed the whole thorny
path of the Soviet era. Now Kazan has a new status - capital of
In Kazan today a great deal of attention
is given to the revival of research in the humanities, much of which
was forgotten during Soviet period. With a population of 1.2 million,
Kazan has a total of 15 higher educational institutions with 125
In the nineteenth century, Alexander Herzen wrote : "Kazan
is somehow the main focus of the neighbouring provinces to the south
and east: they receive thier education, customs and fashions from
it. The significance of the Kazan is very great: it is place were
two worlds meet. It has two origins, the West and the East, and
you can see them at every cross-roads; here they lived together
in amity as a result of continuous interaction, and began to create
something quite original".
Kazan is inseparably linked not only with Alexander Pushkin, Yevgeny
Baratynsky, Lev Tolstoy, Nikolai Lobachevsky, Maxim Gorky and Fyodor
Chaliapin, who was born in Kazan, but also with outstanding representatives
of Tatare culture, such as Kayum Nasyri, Shigabetdin Mardzhani,
Gabdulla Tukai, Fatikh Amirkhan and Gayaz Iskhaki.
The capital of Tatarstan becomes day after day brighter and more
Other Russian Cities:
Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Novosibirsk