Island City of Sviyazhsk

Address: s. Sviyazhsk, Zelenodolsky District of Tatarstan


The island city of Sviyazhsk is a place unique for its history and geographical position. It was constructed for the siege of Kazan in 1551 at the orders of Ivan the Terrible. The surprising thing is that the city was first completely built in the vicinity of Uglich, then it was dismantled into pieces with every log being marked, then taken by rafts down the Volga River and reassembled at the chosen place without a single nail. There is one building preserved from those times: the Troitskaya Church, the only monument of Russian wooden architecture of the 16th century in the Middle Volga. The city became an island after Kuybyshev Reservoir was opened in 1956. Most of the local residents' homes were flooded, and the ancient structures only survived due to being located on a hill. Today the island hosts country-wide music festivals, archery tournaments, culture and tourism fairs, religious ceremonies. The beauty of the island city attracts artists and poets, many of them even choose to stay and live there. The expanse of Volga, the steep shores, the ancient churches captivate them, as well as hundreds of tourists, by their peacefulness and its very special aura. Upon seeing the island city of Sviyazhsk great Russian poet A.S. Pushkin said that it was the Buyan island and the Lukomorye from his fairy tales.

Assumption Cathedral and Monastery of the island town of Sviyazhsk is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.