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If one were to ask you where characters as contemptable as Ivan the Terrible, Leo Trotsky and Judas Iscariot could all meet together, the answer would be Sviyazhsk.

The island of Sviyazhsk is situated at the convergence of the Sviyaga River with the Volga. The island was built by Ivan the Terrible as an outpost to occupy Kazan. Legend has it that the town here was built in one night. The architectural complexes in Sviyazhsk consist of wonderfully preserved temples, including the most ancient wooden Trinity Church (1551), Nikol Church and Ouspensk Cathedral. In the Ouspensk Cathedral you can see well-preserved frescoes depicting an array of biblical scenes.


Several hours down the Volga is a place considered very sacred to all citizens of Tartarstan. In Velikiye Bulgary, the essential principles of the Tartar State system were laid, and Islam adopted. The remains of the ancient town remind us of the most glorious period in the history of Velikiye Bulgary. Today, more than 100 fragments of the ancient constructions on the site of this settlement can be explored by tourists.


The small ancient town of Yelabouga is comfortably located on the banks of the river Kama surrounded by forests. The land itself was once painted by the famous Russian landscape painter Ivan Shishkin. Here you can also find his memorial estate and the memorial estate of Nadezhda Durova, the heroine of the Patriotic War of 1812. Marina Tsvetaeva, the well-known Russian poet, was buried in the old town cemetery.

A famous "Chertovo" cemetery, which contains the fortified remains of an ancient Volga-region tribe is located not far from Yelabouga. You can walk around the remains of 10th-century Bulgary fortifications in the eastern part of the town. The intact stone tower of the "Chertovo" settlement became a symbol of Yelabouga.


During the Great Patriotic War, Chistopol became a shelter for Union of Soviet writers Boris Pasternak, Leonid Leonov and other notables. Others whose names are connected with this town are Alexander Butlerov, Russian chemist, born in Chistopol in 1828, Sofia Gubaidulina, Soviet composer, born here in 1931, Boris Pasternak, a Soviet writer who lived in the city from 1942-1943, Nikolay Likhachyov (1862-1936) , a Soviet scientist, historian, palaeographer, art historian, bibliographer, collector, and academician.

Chistopol is famous for the Vostok watch factory, which is one of the last remaining watch factories in the world that can create a mechanical watch from start to finish.


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