Kazan Kremlin

Kazan, Russia

The Kazan Kremlin is the historic citadel of Tatarstan. It was built at the behest of Ivan the Terrible on the ruins of the former castle of Kazan khans. 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 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) and the Cathedral of the Saviour"s Transfiguration (1590s). 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 medieval mosque.

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.

The opening of the biggest mosque in Europe, the Qolşärif Mosque, was held in 2005. The facility was reconstructed on the site where presumably Kazan Khanate"s principal mosque had been standing before 1552.

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Founded: 1556-1562
Category: Castles and fortifications in Russia

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User Reviews

Konstantin K (11 months ago)
Obviously, the highlight of downtown Kazan and the place that makes Kazan recognizeable and unique.
Dmitry Nefedov (12 months ago)
Very nice place to have a walk. View is fantastic.
Kim Johan (13 months ago)
It's amazing, you have to come here when you are in Russia. This building is very grand and unique with relifs that describe the story of the past. I hope this place is always for maintained and cared. Thank you. Happy wonderful
Youssef Shrief (13 months ago)
It's very important to visit if you are visitor
Oriane Gachet (21 months ago)
The Kremlin of Kazan is a must see. There is of course the stunning Mosque but also other churches, museums, souvenir shops, mausoleums, etc. If you want to visit the museums there is a special ticket for multiple entries. I also saw some guided tours but only in Russian.
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