Location: Republic of Tatarstan
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Kazan is the capital and the largest city in Republic of Tatarstan in Russia. It is one of the most diverse and unique due to its interesting and turbulent history. It was originally found as a large settlement of the Bulgars. After arrival of the Mongols it became part of the Golden Horde Empire. The country adopted Islam in the 13th century and many mosques were constructed in the city and around it. After the break up of Khanate, Kazan became a capital of Khanate of Kazan. In 1552 it was captured by the Russian forces of Tsar Ivan the Terrible after a long siege. From that point on Tatarstan became an integral part of the Russian Empire. The city combines an architecture of European and Asian influences.
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. The
reason for this dating is found during excavations in the Kazan
Kremlin Czech coin, dated by the Board of St. Wenceslaus
(presumably, coinage 929–930 years) and the earliest Czech coin, the
remains of masonry and wooden city fence, handicrafts and utensils
(Hungarian type lining, women's beads, etc.), as well as other
artifacts with less obvious dating. According to official
statements, experts from 20 cities of Russia and 22 countries of the
world were involved in the study of findings related to the age of
Kazan was a border post between Volga Bulgaria and two Finnish tribes-Mari and Udmurt. Another vexatious question is where the citadel was built originally. Archaeological explorations have produced evidence of urban settlement in three parts of the modern city: in the Kremlin; in Bişbalta at the site of the modern Zilantaw monastery; and near the Qaban lake. The oldest of these seems to be the Kremlin.
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. Some Tatars also went to Lithuania, brought by Vytautas the great. 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 Ulugh Muhammad, 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, Tsar
Ivan the Terrible conquered the city and massacred the majority of
the population. During the subsequent governorship of Alexander
Gorbatyi-Shuisky, most of the Kazan's Tatar residents were forcibly
Christianized or deported, 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 under the leadership of voyvoda Nikanor Shulgin 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.
Before the building of modern dams, low-lying areas were regularly flooded in April and May. Kazan suffered major fires in 1595, 1672, 1694, 1742, 1749, 1757 1744, 1815 and 1842. Kazan was largely destroyed in 1774 as a result of the Pugachev revolt (1774–1776), an uprising by border troops and peasants led by the Don Cossack ataman (Captain) Yemelyan Pugachev, but the city, formerly largely of timber construction, was soon afterwards rebuilt, using stone and according to a grid pattern plan, during the reign of Catherine the Great. Catherine also decreed that mosques could again be built in Kazan, the first being Marjani Mosque.
At the beginning of the 19th century Kazan State
University and printing press were founded by Alexander I. It became
an important center for Oriental Studies in Russia. The Qur'an was
first printed in Kazan in 1801. Kazan became an industrial center
and peasants migrated there to join its industrial workforce. In
1875, a horse tramway appeared; 1899 saw the installation of a
tramway. 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 the Kazan Operation of August 1918, it was briefly occupied by Czechoslovak Legions. 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. After the Treaty of Rapallo (1922) until 1933, the German and the Russian army operated together the Kama tank school in Kazan.
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. The city went from 10th to 8th position in population ranking of Russian cities. In the early 2000s, the city earned the right to host both the 2013 Summer Universiade and 2018 FIFA World Cup.