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Kazan Kreml


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A fairy castle on the eastern most frontier of the Old Rus, seen from th Kazan River.

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.

Today Kazan is the capital of the Tartar Republic and its Kreml has the distinction that it is the only one which includes a mosque. The mosque was built in the 16th century. In 1552, during the conquest of Kazan it was destroyed by Ivan The Terrible. It was rebuilt in 1996!

Annunciation Cathedral in the Kreml


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Annunciation Cathedral 1554-62

Photo president.tartar.ru

Baroque interior of the Annunciation Cathedral 1736.

Kazan Kreml Kul Sharif Mosque


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Kul Sharif Mosque. In 1996 the mosque was rebuilt, its look is decisively modern. Its inauguration on July 24, 2005 marked the beginning of celebrations of the first millennium of Kazan.

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Interior of the Kul Sharif Mosque, 1996

Astrakhan Kreml Uspensky Cathedral


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Ascension Cathedral 1698-1710

In the 13th and 14th centuries Astrakhan became one of the main trade and political centres of the Golden Horde. In 1395 the city was sacked by Timur. Astrakhan was rebuilt afterwards and became the capital of the Khanate of Astrakhan in 1459. In 1547 the city was seized by the Crimean Khan Sahib Giray. In 1556 Astrakhan was besieged and burned by Ivan the Terrible. The ruins of this medieval settlement were found by archaeologists 12 km upstream from the modern-day city. In 1556, the khanate was conquered by Ivan the Terrible, who had a new kremlin built on a steep hill overlooking the Volga. In the 17th century, the city became the Russian gate to the Orient. Many merchants from Armenia, Persia, India and Khiva settled in its downtown, giving it a multinational and variegated character.

Photo flickr.com

The Domes of the Astrakhan Kremlin