Sviyazhsk is an island located in the Zelenodolsk district of the Republic of Tatarstan, in the place where the Sviyaga flows into the Volga.
A lovely view of the island Sviyazhsk opens from passing ships. And who has not visited this picturesque area can imagine the beauty of this land, remembering the fabulous island from "The Tale of Tsar Saltan" by Pushkin, where he wrote:
Merrily the breeze is singing,
O'er the waves a ship is winging
Past the Island of Buyan
To the realm of Tsar Saltan.
Sviyazhs was founded in 1551 as an outpost of Ivan IV's troops during the siege of Kazan. Ivan the Terrible and his army several times tried to take Kazan and put an end to the rule of Khans, but for a long siege it was necessary to have an outpost near the city.
In 1550, returning from another unsuccessful campaign to Kazan, Ivan the Terrible stopped near a high hill, washed by the river Sviyaga, and the river Shchuka.This place is surrounded by swamps, so the Tsar considered it appropriate for the castle grounds.
For its construction, ready numbered details were brought from Uglich via the Volga River on rafts. 75,000 workers labored on the construction of wooden walls and 18 towers, and 4 weeks later, in May 1551, the fortress was built.
Incredibly tragic events occurred in Sviyazhsk in the 20th century, when the October Revolution won in Russia and the Civil War began. In 1918, the Red Terror was born here: by order of the military commissioner Trotsky, every tenth soldier of the Red Army garrison stationed in the fort was shot, for the fact that the order was not carried out and the the White were not expelled from Kazan.
In the 1930s were destroyed 6 of 12 temples of the city, and the Assumption Convent was used as a prison, then as a mental hospital.Sviyazhsk was also a political prison of GULAG, and children's corrective labor colony existed here at one time.
In 1960, the chairman of the Union of Artists of the USSR, Academician Grabar, raised the question of preserving the frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral, which marked the beginning of a long and difficult process of resumption of the monastery.
If you came to Kazan in winter, then the excursion to Sviyazhsk can be combined with visiting the ski resort "Kazan", where also there is a beautiful view overlooking the city island.