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Kazan Travel Guide

Kazan History

The first state Volga-Kama Bulgaria appeared in the end of IX - beginning of X century AD and long time remained the unique developed state formation in the northeast of Europe. In 922 the generally accepted date when the Volga-region Bulgars adopted Islam and in 1005 accepted a date of the founding of the city of Kazan. By 1223 Kazan Bulgars beat back the first wave of Mongol invaders and a Mongol army conquers the Bulgars and captures Kazan in 1236. Between 1361 and 1399 Emir Bulat-Timur occupies the Bulgar region in a bid to strengthen the hold of the Mongol Golden Horde. Kazan considered one of the three power centers of the Bulgar sultans. Around this time, the city began minting coins and showing other evidence of increasing military and political influence.

In 1431 Bulgars suffer major military defeats at the hands of forces loyal to Moscow, indicating the beginning of the decline of Bulgar power in the region. And in 1445 Bulgar Prince Makhmudek defeats Moscow forces and is proclaimed the sovereign of Kazan. After Ivan the Terrible's capture of Kazan in 1552, Kazan Khanate stopped its existence and was attached to the Russian state. Second half of the 16th century: Kazan is gradually Russianized and it is forbidden for Tatars to live within the city. In 1556 the construction of the white-stone kremlin begins, replacing earlier wooden fortifications.

In the beginning of 15 century Kazan was called New Bulgar - Bulgar-al-Jadid, - thus, giving it a status of capital city. In the middle of 15 up to the middle of 16 centuries Kazan was the most rich and beautiful city, amazing contemporaries by strength of walls and magnificence of palaces and mosques. "Marvellous city", "capital of the East", so was named Kazan. Even Ivan the Terrible admired the city. In the second half of 16-17 centuries Kazan was the capital of the east of Russia, the centre of extensive territory.

History of Kazan

The Kremlin was built in stone. In 17 century Kazan more than once had valiant times, was in the centre of peasants' revolts, revolts of non Russian population, in 1654-1657 there was plague, in 1672 and 1684 the whole quarters and streets were burnt down. However by the end of that century Kazan not only restored all destroyed, but became even better, turned to a large military administrative centre of Russia, and since 1708 headed the Kazan province. The shape of city began to change, now Kazan not only the centre of province, but "East capital", one of the biggest cities of Russia.

In 1708 Kazan becomes a governed center when Peter the Great institutes a political reform. Opening of first provincial school for children of nobility. Muslim education system exists despite opposition from Moscow authorities. Two Muslim religious schools opened. A third appeared in 1780. In 1774 Kazan suffers heavy damage during a peasant revolt headed by Don Cossack Yemelyan Pugachev. Following the suppression of the revolt by Catherine the Great, she decrees that mosques may be built in the city. Official discrimination against Tatars, however, continues.

In 70s of 18 century Kazan again appeared in the epicentre of tragically events and big destructions: the bloody chariot of country war under the leadership of Emelyan Pugachev, newly presented as "Emperor Peter III" swept here. Groups of Pugachev occupied the city, but the fortress didn't surrender. But the most part of Kazan then was burnt down. At restoration of the city its building was made for the first time under the general plan authorized by empress Ekaterina II. The city, especially central part, was built up in stone, streets were straightened, the new areas were formed and the whole quarters were erected.


Kazan History Part II »

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