Tatarstan Republic: Volga Bolgars and modern Tatars

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Main facts:

  • Administrative center: Kazan

  • Federal District: Volga region

  • Language(s): Tatar, Russian

  • Population: 3,894,000

  • Timezone: UTC+3

  • Main religion: Islam, Orthodoxy

Top 10 attractions:

Sights map of Tatarstan Republic

Travel around Tatarstan Republic

The Republic of Tatarstan is located on the banks of the Volga and Kama rivers, the capital of the republic is based on their confluence. Being in excellent transport accessibility from Moscow, the republic attracts millions of tourists annually, and everyone leaves it with joy in their hearts. This is no coincidence, since Tatarstan is one of the most prosperous and well-groomed republics in Russia: there are excellent roads, many amenities for pedestrians, friendly people and many magnificent must-see sights for everyone.

The history of the republic begins in the distant past 4-3 millennia BC. It was at that time, according to archaeological finds, that the first people settled on the banks of the Volga and Kama. Living in relative isolation from the other significant cultures of those times, the local people created an independent culture and way of life, which became entrenched during the formation of the Volga Bolgars state in the 11th century. The capital of the newly formed state was the city of Bolgar, and it is here that the historical museum of the Bolgarian culture is located today. Also here is one of the most beautiful mosques on the territory of our country - the White Mosque, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is an architectural monument of national importance. You should definitely see it!

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Settling along the banks of the Volga and Kama, Volga Bolgaria slowly expanded its borders and increased its strength, but failed to resist the invasion of the Mongolian troops in the middle of the 13th century. They captured the entire territory of the state and annexed it to the Mongol Empire. During the reign of the Mongol khans, the Golden Horde state arose on this territory (after the division of land between the sons of Genghis Khan), Islam was adopted (in 1320), and the Tatars more than once participated in raids on ancient Russia and the neighboring principalities along with the Mongols (for example, to Moscow in 1382). However, later Khan Tokhtamysh, the ruler of the Golden Horde, came out against the Central Asian khan Tamerlane, and as a result suffered a crushing defeat. From that moment the Golden Horde came to an end.

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In the result of the collapse of the Golden Horde, Khan Ulug-Mohammed migrated to the north and captured the city of Kazan, where he proclaimed himself an independent ruler. Thus, the Kazan Khanate was formed, from which the modern Republic of Tatarstan originates. The power of the Kazan Khanate was very significant, because they controlled the territory, larger than even the Golden Horde. In the middle of the 16th century, Russian troops repeatedly attempted to take Kazan by storm, but they did not succeed. Then Tsar Ivan IV came up with a plan for the siege of Kazan, which included the construction of a whole fortified city on an island nearby. Details and plans were invented and assembled in the city of Uglich, not far from the Moscow principality. Then they were fused along the Volga right up to the island of Sviyazhsk, where within a few months a fortress was assembled for the Siege of Kazan. As a result, the Russian troops took Kazan, and the fortress of Sviyazhsk became the stronghold of Russia on the Middle Volga. Today, you can learn about the history of this glorious victory by personally visiting the island town of Sviyazhsk and seeing the remains of an ancient fortress.

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Since then, Kazan has become a Russian city, but a very large Tatar diaspora has been preserved here, which strongly defended its national traditions and religion (Islam). However, until the reforms of Peter the Great in 1708, the Kazan kingdom remained under the constant control of the Russian tsars. During the reforms, the Tatar province was formed, from which several independent territories and regions emerged: Astrakhan, Orenburg, Tambov, Saratov, etc. In fact, by the middle of the 18th century, the territory of the Tatar Republic had decreased to its current size. The first school in Russia (except for Moscow) was opened in Kazan to jointly educate children from rich and poor families under the supervision of Moscow State University. Kazan grew and flourished, turning into one of the richest regions of Russia.

In the Soviet Union, the Tatar ASSR was formed. In the 20th century, on the territory of Tatarstan the high quality oil began to produce, which further enriched the republic and all its inhabitants. Thanks to the influx of money educational, transport and medical reforms aimed at improving the social sphere began to be implemented in the republic. Since the collapse of the USSR and the attainment of relative independence in 1992, the government of the Republic of Tatarstan has continued its course towards improving the well-being of the population, and also actively engaged in tourism. As a result, today Kazan is one of the most popular cities of Russia in tourism, and absolutely deserved. Here is a beautiful transport, well-groomed and clean pedestrian areas, many museums and buildings, striking beauty. And the national Tatar culture, so carefully preserved over the centuries, today seems in the form of unique objects of national identity, crafts and restored architecture, for the sake of which people come here from all over the world.

In my opinion, Kazan is one of the most beautiful cities in Russia, which is definitely worth a visit. Starting from the magnificent Kremlin and the Kul Sharif Mosque, walk along the pedestrian Bauman street or to the Palace embankment. In both cases, you will see a lot of beautiful buildings and landscapes, for example, the Palace of Farmers on the Kazanka embankment or the Epiphany Cathedral on Bauman Street. Be sure to go up to the observation deck of the Peter and Paul Cathedral or take a ride on the ferris-wheel not far from the "Kazan" center of the family. And if you think at what time of year it is better to see the city - come both in summer or in winter, since winter Kazan is decorated with millions of Christmas lights, the whole is lit up with light and covered with snow drifts. Here is the real winter, sunny and frosty.

Nevertheless, the Tatarstan Republic is not only about Kazan; there are still many beautiful places here. Not far from Kazan, visit the unique folk structure dedicated to religious tolerance - the Temple of All Religions. A little further in this direction will be the island town of Sviyazhsk, where, in addition to the incredible landscapes of the Volga, you will learn about the history of the ancient fortress, with the help of which Kazan was taken. For the ancient history of the Volga Tatars go to the small town of Bolgar, where the oldest Cathedral Mosque personifies the history of the first state of the Tatars, and the magnificent White Mosque symbolizes the path of prosperity and development that the modern republic has chosen. During the trip, you will have multiple crossings of the beautiful Volga River, along which the lands of national parks and reserves stretch - Volga-Kama, Lower Kama, mountains near Dolgaya Polyana... And if you want to see the wealth of the small Tatar city - go to Yelabuga, the home of famous Russian painter Ivan Shishkin and the place of life of poetess Marina Tsvetaeva.

Come to the Tatarstan Republic for the national identity, beautiful sights and delicious folk food (chak-chak, echpochmak and many more). This place will not leave anyone indifferent!

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