The Kazan Kremlin

Address: Kazan, street Kremlin, 20. Tel. +7(843)292-22-71, +7(843)567-80-01.
Working Hours: daily from 08:00 to 20:00.
How to get there: metro station "Kremlin", by trolley bus number 2
or bus № 6, 15, 29, 35, 37, 47, 74, 75, 98 - stop "Central stadium".

The history of the Kazan Kremlin

The oarlock of rivers Volga and Kazanka homes one of the most beautiful cities in Russia - Kazan. The history of the city is connected with the growth and development of the Bulgarian kingdom and the Bulgars of the Volga-Kama basin. In the strategically advantageous location, on the Kremlin hill, were the first fortifications were built in the X-XI centuries. The fortifications were a palisade of sharpened logs on top and dug in the earth, in front of them was four-meter moat with the width of more than fourteen meters and the rampart of three meters. The Bulgarian city was designed to protect people against Russian raids and protect the Volga trade route. Over the next 250 years, the value of the outpost of the Bulgarian state has increased several times, which led to the expansion of the city. Behind the walls of the fortress, the settlements began to appear. During the time of the Golden Horde, Kazan lost the function of the border bastion and became the center of trade routes which were crossing the middle Volga region.
The city survived after the collapse of the Golden Horde, and became a Kazan Khanate. This was not a small settlement within the boundaries of fortress walls. The city was huge and enormous, and surrounded Kremlin hill with trade settlements, and artisans’ settlements. The number of dwellings increased rapidly along with the number of the city’s residents. The architects had very important positions, they created a unique ancient city. Numerous mosques, towering minarets, palaces of the rulers combined the traditions of the Bulgarian era and the elements of Turkish and Italian architectural excellence. The basis of the cultural life of khanate was Muslim traditions. At the time, Khan's Kazan was a big beautiful city with a highly-developed culture.
In 1552, Ivan IV's army after a long siege turned the flourishing city in ashes. The survived citizens were deported from the fortress walls. The city and the neighborhood were populated by Russian settlers. On the remains of the glory, a new – different Kazan appeared quite quickly. By the beginning of the XVII century, the city’s area has doubled, and the Kremlin walls became as we can them now. The city turns into a big administrative center of the assigned territory. Kazan became one of the most impregnable strongholds of the Russian Empire. Ivan IV ordered to rebuild the city and gave his permission to do so to Shiryai and Yakovlev, the architects who built the St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. By the end of the XVI century, all wooden defensive structures were replaced by the stone ones.
As the Russian Empire was growing, the Kazan Kremlin lost its military component, and became the administrative center. The last battle which was here was the Pugachev’s Rebellion. The rebels fired the Kremlin for two days, but were unable to capture it. The urban architecture and internal construction of the Kremlin finally formed by the middle of the XIX century - in this form we can see it today.

The complex of buildings on the territory of Kazan Kremlin 

The Spasskaya Tower

The front gate to the Kremlin are located in the Spasskaya Tower. The architects Yakovlev and Shiryay built a tower in 1556. Its height is 47 meters. There is an arched doorway in the tetrahedral basis of the tower. The fourth octagonal tier, with arched openings on each side, is a belfry with the Kremlin bell. It offers an outstanding view (its height is 30 meters) of the entire Kazan. There is a brick cone with five-pointed stars on the top. In the third tier, there is a clock with bells. The first clocks, established in the XVIII century, was different - the dial rotated around a static clock hands. In 1780, it was changed to a traditional one. The clock which now located on the walls of the Spasskaya tower, was installed in 1963. While chime start to play, the white Kremlin’s walls become a crimson color ones.

The Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery complex

In the south-eastern part of the Kremlin, there is a monastic complex. In its center, there is a backbone of the Transfiguration Cathedral, which was destroyed in the 20-ies of the last century. At the foot of the central wall of the cathedral, there is a monastery’s cave that served as a burial place of Kazan’s saints since 1596.  The monastic cells were built in 1670. Later, the treasury house and a gallery were added to a complex. The Church of St. Nicholas Ratniy and Archimandrite Chambers are located at the western part of the complex. The church was reconstructed in 1815, according to A. Schmidt’s project, at the same time the basement of the XVI century was saved and renovated.

The Public Offices Places

The Provincial Office, which was created by the project of Moscow’s designer and architect V. I. Kaftyrev, was built on the territory of the Kremlin at the end of the XVIII century. The Chancery for receptions and the apartments of viceroy’s family are located here. The second floor homes a luxurious throne room with choirs for musicians. At the place, where in XV-XVII centuries was Sovereign's yard, in the middle of the XIX century, was built a guardhouse. Today, the building hosts the Department of External Relations of the President of the Republic, the Arbitration Court and the Central Election Commission.

The Cadets' School building (Yunkerskoye Uchilishche)

In the left side of the court building, there is an arena, which was built according the same design project as St. Petersburg’s one. The building and its territory were used for drill exercises. Today, within its walls located the Institute of Literature and Art of Ibragimov. Following the arena, there is the school building. Architect Pyatnitskii built it as barracks for the cantonments. In 1861, the building was passed to the military department, which opened on its base a cadet school here.

The Exhibition Center "Hermitage-Kazan"

On the third floor of the school, there is an Exhibition Centre. Here you can find exhibits of painting, drawing, arts and crafts, historical and cultural collections. The center has signed a cooperation agreement with the State Hermitage Museum. In the lecture hall of the center, thematic lecture series are held.

The Natural History Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan 

In the halls of the museum host numerous expositions, which tell us about the diversity of our planet's resources, the history of evolution of vertebrates. Also, here you can see the Earth's life-way from the birth to the Carboniferous period, and to fulfill the basic knowledge in the field of astronomy.

The Memorial Museum of the Great Patriotic War

The museum will tell us about Tatarstan's contribution to the victory over Nazi Germany. There is an exhibition of personal belongings of war heroes, weapons, guns, which were discovered on the battlefields. There is an electronic database of 430,000 people, who were killed during the war.

The Art Gallery “Hazine”

The National Art Gallery occupies a large part of the building of the former Cadet School. Here you can see numerous art works of the Kazan Art School. The works of Tatar professional artist Urmanche Baki and Soviet artist Haris Yakulov play a leading role in the gallery. In the works of artists we can see two centuries of the historical development of the Tatar region.

Kul Sharif Mosque

In the courtyard of the former school, there is the main mosque in Kazan. Its four 57-meter minarets look into the sky, and capacity of building is one and a half thousand people. The minarets are made in a turquoise color, which gives it a charm. In addition to the mosque, the complex hosts a large open library-museum of Islam, Imam management and a publishing center. A small circular building with a turquoise dome on the south side of the mosque - is the fire department, stylistically related to the architectural ensemble. Kul Sharif was built in 2005 - as a re-creation of the legendary shrine of the Kazan Khanate with many minarets. The mosque was built on donated money. In 1552, the last Kazan’s defenders were killed within its walls by Russian soldiers. The name of the last imam was Kul Sharif. He defended his city to his last breath.

The "Cannon Yard" (Pushechnyy Dvor)

Behind the cadet school and the mosque, there is the Cannon yard, more exactly, its southern enclosure. It is the most ancient buildings of the ensemble - appeared in the early XVII century. In the XIX century, there was opened a plant of the production of artillery. Last year, the restoration work was carried out here. They want to open the Cannon Yard museum here. Nowadays, the building hosts some permanent exhibitions, chamber music performances and fashion shows. Next to the building, there is a fragment of a brick building on a stone base. The depth of the base corresponds to the Khan's era. 

Annunciation Cathedral

Annunciation Cathedral is the oldest stone building of Kazan, which we can visit now. It was consecrated in 1562. The design of the cathedral clearly resembles the Vladimir’s, Pskov’s, Moscow’s and Ukrainian’s architecture. The central dome is made in the Ukrainian Baroque style. The basement of the main part of the temple homes a museum of Orthodoxy Volga. A short distance we can see the house of the bishop - it was built on the site of the palace of Kazan bishops in 1829. The consistory closes the ensemble, it was rebuilt from the episcopal stables. At the central part of the complex, there is a small cozy park. After the day when the cathedral was included in the World Heritage list of UNESCO, there was built a monument to the builders of the Kazan Kremlin.

The Governor's Palace

The complex was built in 1848 - as apartments for the governor of Kazan with the royal chambers for distinguished guests. K. A. Tone, who was famous for his work of Christ Temple and the Temple of the Grand Kremlin Palace in the capital of Russia, supervised the construction. In the past, on this spot, was the Khan's palace complex. The second floor of the palace is transferred into the Palace Church. Previously, it was called Vvedenskaya Church, it was built in the XVII century. The church’s building is a museum of the history of the statehood of the Tatar people, and President of the Republic of Tatarstan now lives in the Governor's Palace.

Tower Syuyumbike

Syuyumbike Tower is, probably, the main symbol of Kazan. The name Syuyumbike belongs to the Tatar queen - the wife of the last two Khans of Kazan. According to legend, Ivan the Terrible, heard about the beauty of Syuyumbike, and sent her messengers with a proposal to become the queen of Moscow. Having been refused, the threatening king seized Kazan. The proud woman agreed to be the king's wife, but if her condition would be satisfied. In seven days, the tsar had to build a tower, the biggest tower in the city. Ivan the Terrible fulfilled her desire. Queen Syuyumbike wanted to say goodbye to Kazan before the leaving, she asked to look at the city for the last time, but she didn’t want to leave, so she committed suicide and jumped from the tower. In the direction of her jump, there is an incline. Currently, the incline is already 1.98 meters. The tower resembles the Borovitskaya Tower of Moscow’s Kremlin. The first three tiers of the tower are squares of different heights. The following two-tier octagonal, the next above is a tent with brick faces and the next is a patrol tower with high green spire. The tower’ height is 58 meters.

Taynitskaya Tower

Down the hill, there is Taynitskie entrance gates. This name was given to the gates because of the dungeon, which lead to the source that was used by the inhabitants of the city during the siege. Previously, the tower was named Nur Ali (Russian people called it "muraleeva"), it was blown up at the Kremlin's grip. It is these gates Ivan IV came into the ruined Kazan. The tower was restored, but the architectural treatment it received only in the XVII century. Nowadays, on the top of the gates there is a cafe "Muraleevy gate" ("Муралеевы ворота").

You will be amazed by Kazan Kremlin – that’s for sure! Two cultures here make one mixed and unique culture, you can participate in history of Kazan right here, right now.