The Kazan Kremlin is the chief historic citadel of Tatarstan, situated in the city of Kazan. It was built at the behest of Ivan the Terrible on the ruins of the former castle of Kazan khans. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000.
The Kazan Kremlin includes many old buildings, the oldest of which is the Annunciation Cathedral (1554-62), the only 16th-century Russian church to have six piers and five apses. Like many of Kazan’s buildings of the period, it is constructed of local pale sandstone rather than of brick. The renowned Pskov architects Postnik Yakovlev and Ivan Shirjay (called Barma) were invited by the Tzar to rebuild Kazan Kremlin in stone. The cathedral bell tower was erected in five tiers at the urging of Ivan the Terrible and was scored to resemble the Ivan the Great Belltower in Moscow, but was pulled down by the Soviets in 1930.
The most conspicuous landmark of the Kazan Kremlin is the leaning Söyembikä Tower, which probably goes back to the reign of Peter the Great. A well-known legend connects the tower with the last queen of Kazan. Another recognizable architectural feature is the Spasskaya Tower, which anchors the southern end of the Kremlin and serves as the main entrance to the Kremlin.
The Spasskaya Tower is named after the Spassky Monastery, which used to be located nearby. Among the monastery’s buildings were the Church of St. Nicholas (1560s, four piers) and the Cathedral of the Saviour’s Transfiguration (1590s, six piers). They were destroyed by the Communists during Joseph Stalin’s rule.
Also of interest are snow-white towers and walls, erected in the 16th and 17th centuries but later renovated; the Qol-Şärif mosque, recently rebuilt inside the citadel; and the Governor’s House (1843-53), designed by Konstantin Thon, now the Palace of the President of Tatarstan. The Palace is believed to be located on the site of former Khan’s palace. Tucked between Presidential Palace and Söyembikä Tower is the palace church built on the foundation of a medieval mosque.
The Northern wall of the Kremlin contains another gated tower – Secret Tower, so named because it used to house a secret water supply well. This tower allows pedestrian access to Kremlin, but vehicle access is restricted to emergencies only.
International Festival of Classic Ballet named after Rudolf Nuriyev
It is not surprising as V. Vasilyev, Ye. Maksimova, G. Komleva, N. Dolgushin, N. Grachyova, K. Kyrb, L. Kunakova, N. Pavlova, T. Chernobrovkina, V. Grigoryev, A. Dorosh, L. Shipulina, Ye. Knyazkova, I. Shapchits (Zavyalova), U. Lopatkina and Yu. Makhalina were among the guests of the festival. We can hardly mention all “stars”, taking part in the festival performances. The leading ballet dancers of the Tatar theatre are worth being compared with the guest artists.
The “Nutcracker” ballet, performed on May 21, 1992 was not only the highlight of the program, but also a sensation, as legendary Rudolf Nuriyev conducted the orchestra. After the performance, which was a great success, outstanding ballet dancer agreed to give his name to the festival.
The Galiaskar Kamal Tatar Academic Theatre
The first known Tatar theatrical efforts were during the 19th century when Tatar amateur theater groups emerged in some cities and towns of Russia with sizable Tatar populations. The first published Tatar-language play was “Unhappy Girl” (1886) by Gabdrakhman Ilyasi (1856–1895), written perhaps under the influence of the first Turkish playwright İbrahim Şinasi and his play “Şair Evlenmesi” (A Poet’s Marriage) which was published in 1860. Both plays deal with the problem of arranged marriages which were very common at that time.
In the middle of the 19th century, Tatar amateur theater groups staged free performances in private houses and were attended by very few people. Their repertoire usually included the plays of Russian and foreign playwrights. The first public performance of a Tatar play in modern times took place in 1906 and was organized by the group “Sayar” (The Traveler). “Sayar” eventually became the leading Tatar professional theater company. In 1939 it was renamed after the playwright Galiaskar Kamal. In 1987, the company moved to its current building on the shore of the lakes Qaban.
The theater’s current repertoire consists mostly of plays written by Tatar playwrights but includes many plays of Russian and foreign playwrights as well.
The performances are translated into English.
Tatar national Restaurant “Tugan Avylym” (Tat. My Native Village)
Bolgar State Historical and Archaeological Reserve
Bolgar State Historical and Archaeological Reserve is located in the Republic of Tatarstan 130 kilometres to the south of Kazan on the Volga riverbank at the site of a once wealthy and powerful capital of Volga Bolgaria – Bolgar Town. The Reserve is a historical and cultural heritage site of federal significance and an especially valuable cultural heritage site of the Tatarstan Republic. In 2014 Bolgar Historical and Architectural Complex was included in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. (http://bolgar.mobi/en/poi/3/)
Boat-Trip to Nizhny Novgorod
The Post-Forum Event will be organized on the 2-5th of June aboard a four-deck ship named after Alexandr Suvorov. We’ll go along the Volga-river from Kazan to Nizhny Novgorod. This passenger ship features «luxe» cabins; single, double and triple-bed cabins with all modern conveniences. All the cabins are equipped with private bath (shower, toilet, and washbasin), air conditioning, refrigerator, telephone for internal communication, a socket for 220 V, the new modern furniture. To date, a four-deck passenger ship named after Alexandr Suvorov meets the European quality standard. On its board you will find two restaurants, two bars, conference hall, playground, health center. The cost of the boat-trip is 300 euros. It includes three meals a day, guided tours and accommodation.
All cultural event dates will be announced later.
To learn more about Kazan visit http://gokazan.ru/en/