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Pearls of Russia

Cultural heritage

Kazan Kremlin

The Kazan Kremlin remains a unique architectural and historical monument, and rightly takes its place alongside the most remarkable world heritage objects. The uniqueness of the Kazan Kremlin consists of several distinctive and inimitable features. The Kazan Kremlin is:
the world's only centre of Tatar national culture and state power in operation;
Russia's only surviving Tatar citadel that preserves traces of an original town-planning concept, original structure, urban development scheme and a functional organization of its various complexes;
a product of the interaction of various urban developmental and architectural cultures - Bulgar, Golden Horde, medieval Kazan Tatar, Italian, Russian and modern Tatar;
the northernmost point of the spread of Islamic culture in the world and the southernmost point of the spread of Pskov-Novgorod-style monuments in Russia;
it presents a conceptual synthesis of Tatar and Russian architectural styles in its key monuments (the Suyumbike Tower, the Cathedral of the Annunciation and the Spasskaya Tower).
Since its very beginning, the Kazan Kremlin has undergone various changes, yet it has always played a central role in the region. Before the 10th century, during its pre-urban period, it was an unfortified settlement, a humble precursor of the city which would later blossom into Kazan.
Its military and commercial role was developed in its pre-Mongol days, from the 10th until the middle of the 13th century, when it became a fort. By the 12th century, it already featured as a stone fortress, a stronghold on the northern boundary of Volga Bulgaria.
From the second half of the 13th century until the first half of the 15th century the Kremlin, or, in Tatar, the Kerman, became the centre of the Kazan Princedom that formed part of the Golden Horde.
On the collapse of the Golden Horde, the Kremlin became the governmental and military base of the Kazan Khanate, which existed as an independent polity from 1438 until 1552.
The Kremlin retained its position of importance after the fall of Kazan to the Russians and was converted into the administrative and military centre of the annexed Middle Volga region (1552-1708). From 1708 onwards, it became the centre of the first, and, from the second half of the 18th century, the second Kazan district of the Russian empire.
Between 1922 and 1992 the Kremlin continued its role as an administrative centre, this time of the Tatar Autonomous Republic. In 1992 it finally became the state centre of the presidential Republic within the Russian Federation. A unique feature of the Kremlin is that it is home to the only operational centre of Tatar national culture and state power. It is here that the official residency of the President of Tatarstan and his administration are situated and, in keeping with established tradition, the Kazan Kremlin remains the location of various ministries and state bodies.
The Kremlin's location and its key monuments offer an outstanding example of the synthesis of Tatar and Russian architecture, combining various styles and echoing the influences of the continuous historical epochs. Casting an eye around the Kremlin complex one is able to distinguish clearly the epochal cultural influences of Volga Bulgaria, the Golden Horde and the Kazan Khanate respectively. Today, the Kremlin remains an outstanding example of the all-embracing fusion of Tatar, Italian and Russian architectural ideas.
The Kazan Kremlin remains a fine example of both a military-defence centre and a large administrative centre, which evolved from two main traditions - Tatar and Russian, Oriental and European - with unique architectural monuments, as well as its surviving cultural landscape and archaeology.

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