by Alina Belyaeva, Kazan, Russian Federation
EERco Volunteer, MACs AUTUMN Pr.,EVS, e+| Alexandreia, GR
Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia and it’s situated on Kazanka and Volga river. With a population of 1,243,500, it is the sixth most populous city in Russia. Kazan is one of the largest religious, economic, political, scientific, educational, cultural and sports centers in Russia.
The millennium of Kazan was celebrated in 2005.
The origin of the name Kazan is uncertain. The most accepted legends derive it from the Bulgar (and also modern Tatar) word qazan, which means 'boiler' or 'cauldron'. Most often appeal to the version of the boiling boiler: the sorcerer advised the Bulgars to build a city where without any fire will boil dug into the ground boiler with water. As a result, a similar place was found on the shore of lake Kaban. One legend claims that the city was named after the river Kazanka, which was named after the son of a Bulgar governor dropped a copper cauldron into it.Other local legends, including research by the Tatar scholar Shigabetdin Marjani, claim that the city was named for the resemblance of the hill on which it sits to an upturned cauldron.
According to the official version adopted today, the city was founded more than 1000 years ago. The estimated date of the urban settlement on the site of Kazan is 1004-1005 years.
After the Mongols ravaged the Bolğar and Bilär territories in the 13th century, the surviving Bulgars recovered in numbers and a small number of Kipchaks were assimilated from which they adopted their language (the so-called Bulgarism), or Kipchaks and Bulgars mixed to create a modern Kazan-Tatar population. Kazan became the center of the Principality, which was dependent on The Golden Horde. In the XIII—XIV centuries, Kazan was growing, becoming an important trade and political center within The Golden Horde. The growth of the city was also promoted by the successful geographical location at the intersection of major trade routes connecting East and West. During the same period, the minting of currency began with the indication of the place of minting — "Bulgar al-Jadid", that is, a New Bulgar.
In 1438, the Bulgar fortress Kazan (ISKE-Kazan) was captured by the ousted Golden Horde Khan Ulu-Muhamedd, who killed the local Prince Swan and moved the fortress to a modern place (according to Russian Chronicles). The city became the capital of the Kazan khanate. The city Bazaar, Taş Ayaq (stone foot) has become the most important shopping center in the region, especially for furniture. Handicraft production also flourished, as the city gained a reputation for its leather and gold products, as well as the wealth of its palaces and mosques. Kazan had trade relations with Moscow, Crimea, Turkey and other regions.
As a result of the Siege of Kazan in 1552, Russia under Ivan the Terrible conquered the city and massacred the majority of the population. Also as a result of the Siege of Kazan 8,000 slaves were set free. During the subsequent governorship of Alexander Gorbatyi-Shuisky, most of the khanate's Tatar residents were killed or forcibly Christianized, the Kerashen Tatars. Mosques and palaces were ruined. The surviving Tatar population was moved to a place 50 kilometers (31 mi) away from the city and this place was forcibly settled by Russian farmers and soldiers. Tatars in the Russian service were settled in the Tatar Bistäse settlement near the city's wall. Later Tatar merchants and handicraft masters also settled there. During this period, Kazan was largely destroyed as a result of several great fires. After one of them in 1579, the icon Our Lady of Kazan was discovered in the city.
In the early 17th century, at the beginning of the Time of Troubles in Russia, the Tsardom of Kazan declared independence with the help of the Russian population, but this independence was suppressed by Kuzma Minin in 1612.
In 1708, the Tsardom of Kazan was abolished, and Kazan became the seat of Kazan Governorate. After Peter the Great's visit, the city became a center of shipbuilding for the Caspian fleet. The major Russian poet Gavrila Derzhavin was born in Kazan in 1743, the son of a poor country squire of Tatar ancestry though himself having a thoroughly Russian identity.
After the Russian Revolution of 1905, Tatars were allowed to revive Kazan as a Tatar cultural center. The first Tatar theater and the first Tatar newspaper appeared.
In 1917, Kazan became one of the revolution centers. In 1918, Kazan was the capital of the Idel-Ural State, which was suppressed by the Bolshevist government. In 1920, Kazan became the center of Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In the 1920s and 1930s, most of the city's mosques and churches were destroyed, as occurred elsewhere in the USSR.
During World War II, many industrial plants and factories to the west were relocated in Kazan, making the city a center of the military industry, producing tanks and planes. After the war Kazan consolidated as an industrial and scientific center. In 1979, the city's population reached one million.
In the late 1980s and in the 1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazan again became the center of Tatar culture and identity, and separatist tendencies intensified. With the return of capitalism, Kazan became one of the most important centers of the Russian Federation.
Since 2000, the city has been undergoing a total renovation.
The Russian language is widely spoken in the city. Tatar is also widely spoken, mainly by Tatars.
Kazan has a humid continental climate with long, cold winters (colder than Moscow), and warm, often dry summers.
The most important places that must visit any tourist in Kazan is Kremlin with it’s Qolşärif Mosque,
Annunciation Cathedral and Söyembikä Tower. Also there are unusual Kazanka river and Kaban lake embankment, beautiful Gorky park and “Forest”, many other nice parks.
Close to Kazan there are very interesting building - Temple of all religions, beautiful historical island Sviyazhsk, Raifa male monastery.