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Swiashsk Russia - Fascinating UNESCO World Heritage in Tatarstan

Swijashsk churches at Kazan Russia
Swiashsk Russia Island of churches near Kazan

Not far from Kazan is Sviazhsk Russia

Swiatzh Russia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kazan has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in and around the city. The Kazan Kremlin is one of them. Swijashsk is located on an island in the Volga. It is about an hour's drive away from Tatarstan Capital. Swijashsk is one of those places that you visit Tatarstan together with the Sights of Kazan can combine. You should not miss Bolgar, the old capital of the Volga Bulgars. Map

The island city of Sviazhsk

The city on the hill in the Volga is one of the attractions in Russia, The island town of Sviazhsk is only since the fifties. At that time, the Kuibyshev Reservoir was built. This stretches from Kazan to Tolyatti on a length of about 550 kilometers and is the largest reservoir in Europe in terms of area. Due to the damming of the water masses, the water of the Volga rose at the confluence with its tributary, the Swijaga. Thus, the hill of Svijaschsk finally turned into an island. Until then, it was only when the Volga River flooded. We approach the village via a road that leads directly to the hill via a dam. There we can already discover from far away the domes and towers of the churches and monasteries. For those Swijashsk is known.

Founded by Ivan the Terrible

In the war of the Russians against the Tatars in the 16th century, Ivan IV, "the Terrible", issued a decree. At this point a city should be founded. It was to serve as a bulwark against the Kazan Tatars. It was only four weeks before a wooden fortress stood on the hill. The buildings were fetched from the Uglitsch bastion 100 kilometers north of Moscow. These were dismantled and transported to their new location on the Volga.

When the Russians 1552 finally defeated the Tatar Khanate in Kazan, they awarded Swiashsk city status. At first, the city was a trade center. At the same time, Russian Orthodox monasteries in the village emerged as a counterpoint to the Islamic Kazan. His role as a trading center, the place soon lost to Kazan. However, the religious significance of the city reached into the 18. Century. After that, the monasteries lost more and more influence until the beginning of the 20. Only a few monks and nuns lived in the monasteries in the 19th century. The Soviets closed the monasteries shortly after the October Revolution.

It was followed by depressing years. In subsequent years, Swiashsk was home to a prison, a homeless shelter for the homeless and finally a psychiatric clinic. In the 50 years, the construction of the Kuibyshev Reservoir made the village an island. The institutions of the Soviet era disappeared again. The psychiatric clinic closed 1994.

Since 1998 Swijashsk has been on the list of potential World Heritage Sites. 2017 included UNESCO the Assumption Monastery and the Assumption Cathedral in the World Cultural Heritage.

Swijashsk monastery near Kazan Russia
Monastery Swijashsk Russia

Swizashsk - excursion destination from Kazan

As a World Heritage Site, Svijaschsk is one of the most attractive tourist destinations near Kazan. The churches and monasteries are restored. In the Assumption Monastery monks moved in again. These we see - quite modern - busy talking in her cell phone. One talks animated with tourists. Even the abbot of the monastery takes his time and talks to a visitor. The monastery, together with the church, which dates back to the time of Ivan the Terrible, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you approach the village from the land side, the first thing you notice is the defensive wall that surrounds the monastery and the church. The Assumption Church is remarkable for its frescoes. On one of them is a portrait of Ivan the Terrible. This should have originated while he was still alive. The frescoes in the interior of the church are well preserved. The most famous of them are Adam and Eve in Paradise and the Holy Trinity. In the 90s of the last century, they were extensively restored.

UNESCO protects the frescoes of the Annunciation Church

Noteworthy is a representation of St. Christopher, which is depicted with a horse's head. It is said that he was said to be so beautiful that the women ran after him in droves. In need, he is said to have asked God to make him ugly. He fulfilled his wish by giving him a horse's head. However, most of these representations of the saint were destroyed in the 18th century. The frescoes in the Assumption Church are therefore a rare cultural asset. This was also the reason why UNESCO considered the church worth protecting. In her announcements it says: "The frescoes of the cathedral are one of the rarest examples of Eastern Orthodox wall painting."

Wooden church in Swizashsk
Wooden church in Swiataschsk Russia

The Holy Trinity Church in the Johannes-Baptist monastery

Not only the UNESCO protected buildings of the island city are worth seeing. Impressive is the Trinity Church, The monastery was already dissolved by Catherine the Great. The oldest building of the island stands on this area. The Trinity Church is built without a wooden nail. It is said that 1551 was completed within a day. Ivan the Terrible is said to have prayed to 1552 the day before the decisive battle against the Tatars of Kazan.


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Right next door is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Serene Joy, a brick church with an impressive interior.

Petar at archery
Petar at archery

Swiashsk Russia comes to life

On one free place Near the two churches, local history friends bring the everyday life of bygone days to life. Tatar fighters in historical armor show swordfights. Visitors can practice archery or try on old armor. At the gates of the area you can taste tea with yeast pastry.

kettle
kettle

Worth knowing about the history in the museum of the place

If you are looking for information on the history, the buildings and the place, then why not visit the Museum of Swiashsk, This is housed in a former administration building. There you can see documents and photographs, archaeological finds, you can learn interesting things about the saints of Sviazhsk, the significance of the Volga and the Volga river for the place and more.

Video impressions from Sviazhsk

Petar captured impressions from Sviazhsk in his video. Take a look at more about this excursion near Kazan Russia.


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Travel Arrangements:

Getting there

Various airlines fly to Kazan Russia. Aeroflot offers two scheduled flights a week from Frankfurt to Kazan. Here's more information about Arrival to Tatarstan, From Kazan to Sviazhsk you will get on a bus trip. There are also excursion boats going from Kazan to Swizashsk.

Excursions and sightseeing

City tours, city tours and excursions in the area of ​​Kazan you can easy to book via this link *.

Accommodation in Tatarstan

We have three days in the Riviera Hotel in Kazan * Overnight, a four-star hotel on the banks of the Kazanka River, which flows into the Volga River near Kazan. Further Hotels in Kazan * you can find here. Hotels in Tatarstan * There's this link.


UNESCO World Heritage in Swiashsk

Find more Slow Travel Tips is here.

Source of the article Fascinating UNESCO World Heritage in Swiashsk near Kazan Russia: own research on site.

We would like to thank Visit Tatarstan for the kind invitation to this trip. Our opinion, however, remains our own.

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

Responses

  1. Outdoor pleasure
    | Reply

    Hi all,

    that sounds very exciting. How was it with the local communication. Do you get along well with English? How long does the flight take?

    Greetings from Stuttgart, Silke & Thomas

    • Monika & Petar Fox
      | Reply

      Hello Silke, hello Thomas,

      that was it. You can get along very well with English. We had also feared that the communication would be difficult, but that was not the case at all. The flight from Frankfurt is about 4 hours to Kazan.

      Best regards,
      Monika and Petar

  2. Diana
    | Reply

    Hello you two,
    I had to look again on the map where you were traveling. that's really exciting. A nice destination you have chosen. The fresco painting was certainly quite impressive.
    I liked the old samovars, who are considered to have been in use for a long time. I like that!
    LG Diana

    • Monika & Petar Fox
      | Reply

      Hi Diana,

      haha, there you are no different than us. We did not know Kazan or Tatarstan before our trip, let alone Swijashsk. All the more exciting was the journey, which this time brought us into completely unknown areas. The harmonious blend of modernity and history, Islam and Russian Orthodox Christianity and the ethnic groups of Russians and Tartars made the journey a very special experience.

      Best regards,
      Monika

  3. Nicole from PASSENGER X
    | Reply

    Hey you two,

    and once again you have brought me closer to a completely unknown place for me and enchanted me directly with your great article and also the video.

    Best regards
    Nicole

    • Monika & Petar Fox
      | Reply

      Dear Nicole,

      I am happy if we succeed. You can do that very well. We dream of the regions in which you are traveling.

      Best regards,
      Monika

  4. Shadowlight
    | Reply

    Wow that's great impressions :)!
    Greetings!

    • Monika & Petar Fox
      | Reply

      Dear Jenny,

      yes, that impressed us too. The island has very impressive monasteries and churches. I was also impressed by how people try to keep the past alive today. Russia from a different perspective than expected.

      Best regards,
      Monika

  5. Saskia
    | Reply

    Hi monika,

    this summer we will also fly to Russia and see some nice corners. I believe that you are now a specialist because you have some articles about Russia and its autonomous areas to offer. I think it's cool!

    Best regards

    Saskia

    • Monika & Petar Fox
      | Reply

      Hello Saskia,

      well, as a specialist I would not call myself now after only a few days in Tatarstan. Russia is much bigger. The stay, however, made us curious, and we would like to see more of this giant country.

      Best regards,
      Monika

  6. Anke
    | Reply

    Hello Monika, that looks really exciting. I've been thinking of traveling to the region for a long time, but still have to convince my husband. I sent him the link once ... LG Anke

    • Monika & Petar Fox
      | Reply

      Hello Anke,

      Well, I'll keep my fingers crossed that he likes it. We were very impressed by the city of Kazan and the region. Maybe because we had no idea what to expect there.

      Greetings,
      Monika

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