Historic and Architectural Complex of the Kazan Kremlin
Built on an ancient site, the Kazan Kremlin dates from the Muslim period of the Golden Horde and the Kazan Khanate. It was conquered by Ivan the Terrible in 1552 and became the Christian See of the Volga Land. The only surviving Tatar fortress in Russia and an important place of pilgrimage, the Kazan Kremlin consists of an outstanding group of historic buildings dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, integrating remains of earlier structures of the 10th to 16th centuries.
Justification for Inscription
Criterion ii The Kazan Kremlin complex represents exceptional testimony of historical continuity and cultural diversity over a long period of time, resulting in an important interchange of values generated by the different cultures. Criterion iii The historic citadel represents an exceptional testimony of the Khanate period and is the only surviving Tatar fortress with traces of the original town-planning conception. Criterion iv The site and its key monuments represent an outstanding example of a synthesis of Tatar and Russian influences in architecture, integrating different cultures (Bulgar, Golden Horde, Tatar, Italian, and Russian), as well as showing the impact of Islam and Christianity.
The complex of the Kazan Kremlin and its key monuments represents exceptional testimony of historical continuity and cultural diversity over a long period, resulting in an important interchange of values generated by the different cultures. It is exceptional testimony of the khanate and is the only surviving Tatar fortress with traces of the original town-planning conception. It is, furthermore, an outstanding example of a synthesis of Tatar and Russian influences in architecture, integrating different cultures (Bulgar, Golden Horde, Tatar, Italian and Russian), as well as showing the impact of Islam and Christianity.
Kremlin Hill was a fortified trading settlement surrounded by moats, embankments, and a stockade. A stone fortress was built in the 12th century and the town developed as an outpost on the northern border of Volga Bulgaria. It was demolished by the Mongols and a citadel was built as the seat of the Prince of Kazan. By the 15th century, the town had become the capital of the Muslim Principality of Bulgaria, with administrative, military, and trading functions. The inner space of the Kremlin is a medieval fortress containing buildings dating from the 16th-19th centuries
The fortifications, in stone and brick, were built in stages. In 1556-62 the masters of Pskov, headed by Postnik Yakovlev and Ivan Shiryai, generally replicated the earlier Tatar fortifications. There were originally 13 fortress towers, but some were pulled down in the 19th century.
The Governor's Palace complex, on the site of the Kazan Khan's palace, was built in 1845-48 to the design of the architect of the Church of Christ the Saviour and the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow. It comprises the brick two-storey main block and a low semicircle of outhouses. The symmetrical facade has motifs of late Russian Classicism, also found in the interior decoration. The 17th century Palace Church was refurbished and rededicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit in 1852. Syuyumbeki's Tower is the architectural symbol of the city: its name goes back to a Tatar tsarina, wife of the last two khans of Kazan.
The Annunciation Cathedral complex evolved from the 16th century as the centre of the Orthodox Church administration. The cathedral is the largest construction of the Kremlin, built in 1561-62 as a five-dome, six-pillar, three-apse church with two chapels connected by a porch. In the 1930s the bell tower, the west porch and the domes were pulled down. The Bishop's House was built in 1829.
The Public Offices complex, including the three-storey Guard House, is situated in the south-eastern part of the Kremlin and has evolved historically as an administrative centre. The facades were rebuilt in the 1840s. The facades have sparse ornamentation, large windows, and a low-pitched roof. Comprehensive renovation work was carried out in 1998.
The Saviour-Transfiguration Monastery complex is situated next to the Spasskaya Tower, and the construction started in 1557. It was the centre of missionary work and the burial grounds for prelates, respected citizens, and nobility of Kazan. The cathedral in the centre of the area was built in 1595-1601 and demolished in the 1920s. The church of St Nicholas the Thaumaturgist and its refectory was rebuilt in 1815. The ground floor is in white stone.
The Cadets' School complex, built in the 19th century on the site of a mosque and a monastery, consists of two schools and the former barracks. It was originally two storeys high but a third floor was added in the Soviet period. The Riding School was erected in the 1880s, with a suspended ceiling.
The Artillery Cannon Foundry was built on the site of a military depot and the building of the khan's guards. The main building was rebuilt to correspond with the new orientation of the Great Street, following the 1768 plan. The cannon works was one of the largest in Russia: it was constructed to the design of the engineer Bétancourt. From 1825 to 1837 the former arsenal and foundry were refurbished as a school.Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
The first human occupation in the Kazan area goes back to the 7th and 8th millennia BCE; there are traces of the Bronze Age (2nd to 1st millennia, late Kazan area settlement), early Iron Age (8th to 6th centuries BCE, Ananin culture), and early medieval period (4th-5th centuries CE, Azelin culture). From the 10th to 13th centuries Kazan was a pre-Mongol Bulgar town. Today's Kremlin hill consisted then of a fortified trading settlement surrounded by moats, embankments, and a stockade. A stone fortress was built in the 12th century and the town developed as an outpost on the northern border of Volga Bulgaria. The so-called Old Town extended eastward, on the site of the former Kazan Monastery of Our Lady. The fortress was demolished on the instructions of the Mongols in the 13th century. A citadel was then built as the seat of the Prince of Kazan, including the town's administrative and religious institutions. By the first half of the 15th century, the town had become the capital of the Muslim Principality of Bulgaria, with administrative, military, and trading functions.
- Seat of the Kazan Khanate (1438-1552)
In the mid 15th century the state came under the rule of a dynasty of the Golden Horde Khans of the Ulug- Mukhammed branch. The former stone fortress was restored and extended to what is now the site of Kremlin and the territory was brought under organized control. By the mid 16th century the site had become a strong fortress built in wood and stone, with the Khan's Palace in the citadel and the Khan's Mosque with the tombs and necropolis of the Kazan Khans (possibly a site of pilgrimage). The Prince's Palace was rebuilt as the Khan's Court, while retaining its basic layout, and it also served as a treasury and depository of records and manuscripts. The Court dominated the townscape of Kazan and was surrounded by several walls at different levels, numerous pavilions, galleries, the Khan's Mosque, and other public buildings. The Western Gate was its most imposing structure.
- Seat of the annexed Volga Land (Kazan Kingdom, 1552-1708)
In 1552, Russian forces took Kazan by storm; as a result of Ivan the Terrible's Volga campaign, the town became the new Christian capital of the Volga Land. The new Russian Kremlin was similar to the Tatar fortress, keeping its old urban layout, its relation with the context, the location of towers, and its basic internal plan. The watchtower of the earlier Tazik moat survived and was converted into the belltower of the new Annunciation Cathedral. In the 16th and 17th centuries there were no large-scale constructions in the Kremlin; the surviving Tatar buildings were reused and the mosques were gradually converted into Christian churches. The Kremlin underwent some changes, reflecting its new status as a Orthodox Christian centre with two monasteries (the Saviour-Transfiguration and the Trinity) and as a military stronghold. The Khan's Court was converted into an arsenal and new administrative quarters were built in the southern part of the fortress, in the Tsar's Palace chambers. Throughout these times Kazan retained its commemorative function, reflected in the saint's tomb near the Transfiguration Cathedral, the churches of St Nicholas Ratny and Nikita Selunskii, the chapel of the Vernicle, and the Holy (Tainitskii) Spring.
- Seat of the first Kazan Province (1708 to late 18th century)
In the early 18th century Kazan became the capital of Kazan Province, including vast territories of the Volga and Ural lands. As a result Kazan was again rebuilt. The administrative centre of the former Kazan Kingdom, located in the south, was returned to the northern part, where it had been at the time of the Tatars. The Chief Commandant's House, occupying the former Khan's Palace area, became the new focus of the fortress, suggesting the dominance of the secular power. It was reinforced by the mass of the Annunciation Cathedral and its bell-tower, overshadowing the Saviour-Transfiguration Monastery.
- Centre of the second Kazan Province (late 18th century to 1920s)
The urban layout of the Kremlin was made more regular and some old streets from the Khanate Kazan were eliminated. The functions remained essentially the same as before. The street connecting the Spasskaya and Tainitskaya driveway towers along the north south axis was straightened, separating the fortress area into two distinct functional zones: (1) the eastern zone, including the Governor General's Palace, the Public Offices, the Consistory, the Annunciation Cathedral, and the Bishop's House and (2) the western zone, including the Cannon Foundry, Cadets' School, and Saviour- Transfiguration Monastery complexes. The loss of military significance and the emphasis on administration made the fortress merely an inner court of the provincial administration. This is seen particularly in the orientation of all the main elevations towards the city. Small-scale administrative buildings in different styles were added to the ensemble.
- Centre of the Tatar Autonomous Republic, 1922-92
During the Stalinist persecution most of the Kremlin's churches were demolished. This exacerbated the degradation of the ensemble, which lost many of its former compositional dominants - the belfries of the Annunciation and Saviour- Transfiguration Cathedrals, the church of Cyprian and Justinia, the Saviour-Transfiguration Monastery complex, the dome of Bishop's House, and the domes of the Annunciation Cathedral. Walls and towers have been renovated since the 1950s and the Annunciation Cathedral and Syuyumbeki's Tower since 1980. The Kremlin retained its status as a centre of state power and as garrison.
- Centre of the Republic of Tatarstan (since 1992)
On 22 September 1994 the Kremlin was established as the Historical, Architectural, and Artistic Museum "Kazan Kremlin," opening a new era for the historic ensemble. The garrison was removed and a museum function was introduced. The rehabilitation has emphasized the former fortress appearance and the commemorative and religious functions, which had been lost for a time. The renovation of the Cadets' School has been started and a project has been launched to rebuild the historic mosque of Kul-Sharif on the site of the destroyed main mosque of the Khanate period Kazan. The building should rehabilitate the lost townplanning integrity of the Kremlin ensemble, enrich the townscape, and symbolize the peaceful coexistence of the two main religions of Tatarstan, Islam and Christianity. The minarets of the new mosque should bring together the Kremlin's crumbling composition, and become the new dominant of the complex. Reconstruction work has started on the complex of the former Cannon Foundry in order to establish a museum. Some upper floors of the unsightly northern building will be pulled down and the elevations will be renovated in the form of the 18th and 19th centuries.Source: Advisory Body Evaluation