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Kazan (kəzänˈ, –zănˈ, Rus. kəzäˈnyə), city (1989 est. pop. 1,094,000), capital of Tatarstan, E European Russia, on the Volga. It is a major historic, cultural, industrial, and commercial center. Manufactures include chemicals, explosives, electrical equipment, building materials, consumer goods, and furs. Kazan's port and shipyards on the Volga make it an important water transport center.

A settlement near the city's present-day site was founded by the Eastern Bulgars c.1000 A.D. Kazan later became the capital of a powerful, independent Tatar khanate (1445), which emerged from the empire of the Golden Horde. The khanate was conquered and the city sacked in 1552 by Ivan IV. It became the capital of the Volga region in 1708 and was an outpost (18th cent.) of Russian colonization in the east. It was burned by Pugachev in 1774 and was rebuilt during the reign of Catherine II. Little remains of the Muslim period except the Suyumbeka tower in the impressive 16th-century kremlin. Tolstoy and Lenin studied at the Univ. of Kazan (founded 1804). The city also has a branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, an ancient cathedral, several monasteries and mosques, and the Russian Islamic Univ. (founded 1998). The name is sometimes spelled Kasan.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city, the capital of the Tatar ASSR, and one of the most important industrial and cultural centers of the Volga Region. Situated on the left bank of the Volga River, at its confluence with the Kazanka River, it is a major river port and a railroad station on the Moscow-Sverdlovsk line, 797 km from Moscow. Kazan is a highway junction and has an airport. Population, 904, 000 (1972; 130, 000 in 1897; 179, 000 in 1926; 406, 000 in 1939; 667, 000 in 1959). The city covers an area of 285 sq km and has five districts.

History. Kazan was founded in the second half of the 13th century by Bulgars along the middle course of the Kazanka River. It was destroyed by troops of the Muscovite prince Iurii Dmitrievich in 1399 and rebuilt 30 or 40 years later on a hill that later became the site of a kremlin in which the khan’s palace and mosques were located. From the 15th century Kazan was a major economic and trade center of the central Volga Region and the capital of the Kazan Khanate, which was annexed to the Russian state in 1552 as a result of the Kazan campaigns of 1545–52. The city grew rapidly from the second half of the 16th century, becoming a provincial capital in 1708. A cloth factory was built here in 1714 and a shipyard and other enterprises in 1718. The working people of Kazan actively participated in the Peasant War led by E. I. Pugachev, whose forces took the city (except the kremlin) by assault on July 12, 1774; much of the city was burned during the battle. In the 19th century large capitalist enterprises arose in Kazan, including the processing of agricultural products, metalworking, and wood working. The University of Kazan was opened in 1804.

In the second half of the 19th century Kazan became a center of the revolutionary and democratic movement. V. I. Lenin began his revolutionary activity in Kazan in 1887 while a student in the university’s law faculty. N. E. Fedoseev organized the first Marxist circles in Kazan in 1888. A Social Democratic group arose in 1897, a Social Democratic organization was founded in 1899, and the Committee of the RSDLP was formed in January 1903. During the Revolution of 1905–07 workers, under the committee’s leadership, fought street battles with the police and Cossacks on Oct. 16—17, 1905, controlling the city for two days.

On Oct. 26 (Nov. 8), 1917, an armed uprising led to the establishment of Soviet power in Kazan. In late February 1918 the Tatar bourgeoisie seized the Tatar section of the city beyond the Bulak River, which was called the Transbulak Republic; the uprising was soon suppressed. On Aug. 7, 1918, Kazan was captured by White Czechs and White Guards. Terror and the restoration of bourgeois-landlord rule provoked a workers’ uprising in Kazan on Sept. 3, 1918, which was suppressed by the White Guards. On Sept. 10, 1918, the Red Army liberated the city, and on May 27, 1920, Kazan became the capital of the Tatar ASSR. Under the prewar five-year plans, as a result of socialist transformations, Kazan became a major industrial, scientific, and cultural center. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), Kazan’s industry contributed to defense, and many industrial enterprises and people evacuated from the country’s western regions were relocated in the city. The postwar decades saw a further development of Kazan’s economy, science, and culture.

Kazan is the birthplace of N. E. Bauman and F. I. Chaliapin, and G. R. Derzhavin, S. T. Aksakov, N. I. Lobachevskii, M. A.Balakirev, L. N. Tolstoy, A. M. Gorky, and M. DzhaliP livedand worked here.


Economy. New branches of industry have been established in the Soviet period, including instrument-making, photochemical, rubber, petrochemical, and synthetic rubber industries. Machine building, metalworking, and the chemical industry are the leading branches. The machine-building plants produce compressors, heat-measuring instruments, dental instruments, sanitary engineering equipment, suspension cableways, and gas ranges. Enterprises of the chemical industry include an organic-synthesis plant, the V. V. Kuibyshev Chemical Plant (motion picture film), and the M. Vakhitov Household Chemistry Plant (stearine, soap, candles, laundry detergents). Kazan is an important center of light industry; one of the largest fur combines in the country, specializing in the processing of sheepskin to resemble nutria, seal, and otter, is located here, as well as footwear and clothing factories. The well-developed food industry includes meat-packing and dairy combines, a confectionery factory, and a brewery. There are also large building-materials enterprises with plants producing reinforced-concrete structural components, silicate bricks, and large-panel housing construction materials.


Architecture. In the center of Kazan are the walls and towers of the kremlin, built in the 16th century and rebuilt in the 17th and 19th centuries. Within the kremlin are the Blagoveshchen-skii Cathedral (1562; architects, Postnik Iakovlev and I. Shiriai), the Siuiumbeki Watchtower (58 m in height; late 17th to early 18th century; foundation possibly 16th century), and the former governor’s palace, now the building of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Ministers of the Tatar ASSR (mid-19th century; architects, K. A. Ton and V. Morgan; eclectic style). Other architectural monuments in the city include the SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral with its six-tiered bell tower (1723–26), the Mikhliaev house (early 18th century), the Mar-dzhani mosque (1766; incorporating elements of Russian baroque and Tatar ornamental motifs), and the University of Kazan, built in the classical style (main building, 1825, architect P. G. Piatnitskii; library, anatomy theater, and observatory built in the 1830’s by the architect M. P. Korinfskii). Architectural monuments of the Soviet period include Freedom Square, on which are found the bronze and granite monument to Lenin (1954; sculptor, P. P. Iatsyno) and the Musa Dzhali’ Theater of Opera and Ballet, a 25, 000-seat stadium (1960), a river terminal (1962), a 2, 400-seat circus (1967), the concert hall of the conservatory (1967), and the Tatarstan hotel (1970). Residential areas, such as the Lenin, Kirov, and Soviet districts, have expanded. A new administrative and public center is developing on the banks of the Kazanka and the Volga, linked by a new highway with the kremlin; parks and public gardens have been laid out there.


Educational and cultural institutions. In the 1971–72 academic year the city had 150 general-education schools with 132, -900 students, 41 vocational and technical schools with 18, 000 students, and 21 specialized secondary schools with 24, 200 students. There were also ten institutions of higher learning with 56, 400 students: the University of Kazan, a conservatory, and institutes of aviation, chemical engineering, civil engineering, agriculture, veterinary medicine, finance and economics, pedagogy, and medicine. In 1971 there were 302 preschool institutions with an enrollment of 43, 900.

As of Jan. 1, 1972, Kazan had 180 public libraries with 4, 430, 000 copies of books and magazines; four museums, the State Museum of the Tatar ASSR, the Museum of Fine Arts, the V. I. Lenin Museum House, and the A. M. Gorky Literary Museum; and six theaters, the G. Kamal Tatar Academic Dramatic Theater, the Musa Dzhali Theater of Opera and Ballet, the V. I. Kachalov Russian Bol’shoi Dramatic Theater, the Lenin Komsomol Young People’s Theater, a puppet theater, and the Tatar Traveling Dramatic Theater. Kazan also has a symphonic orchestra, a philharmonic society, a circus, a palace of sports, 36 clubs, 95 motion picture projectors, a palace of Pioneers, three houses of Pioneers, centers for young technicians, naturalists, and tourists, and seven children’s sports schools.

The republic’s publishing houses and radio and television, including a television center, are located in Kazan. Five republicnewspapers and 11 magazines were published in Tatar and Rus-sian in 1972. One radio station and two television channelsbroadcast in Tatar and Russian and transmit broadcasts from Moscow.


Public health. As of Jan. 1, 1972, Kazan had 54 hospitals with 12, 700 beds (14.1 per 1,000 inhabitants), as against 900 beds in 1913, and 5, 000 physicians (one per 188 inhabitants) compared with 290 physicians in 1913. Outpatient and specialized medical care is provided by 84 polyclinics and 12 dispensaries, and there are nine public health communicable diseases stations. Research work is conducted by scientific research institutes of traumatology and orthopedics, epidemiology, and microbiology and by the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Medical Instruments. Medical personnel are trained by the S. V. Kura-shov Medical Institute, the V. I. Lenin Institute for the Advanced Training of Physicians, and pharmaceutical schools. In and near the city are sanatoriums, houses of rest, and the Volga international youth camp.


Bobchenko, T., A. Garzavina, and K. Sinitsyna. Kazan: PutevoditeV. Kazan, 1970.
Bushkanets, E. G. Kazan: PutevoditeV. Kazan, 1964.
Kalinin, N. F. Kazan, 2nd ed. [Kazan] 1955.
Kalinin, N. F. “Raskopki v Kazan’skom kremle v 1953 g.” Izv. Kazan-skogo filiala AN SSSR. Ser. gumanitarnykh nauk, 1955, issue 1.
Aidarov, S. S. Pamiatniki arkhitektury Kazani (collection of booklets).Kazan, 1961.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Elia , real name Elia Kazanjoglous 1909--2003, US stage and film director and writer, born in Turkey. His films include Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and On the Waterfront (1954) for both of which he won Oscars, and East of Eden (1955).


a city in W Russia, capital of the Tatar Autonomous Republic on the River Volga: capital of an independent khanate in the 15th century; university (1804); a major industrial centre. Pop.: 1 108 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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