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Sviyazhsk (Russian: Свияжск) is a city in Tatarstan, 30 km from Kazan. The territory of Sviyazhsk is a museum-reserve of federal significance, and the Assumption Monastery with the cathedral of the same name is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Assumption Cathedral

The construction of Sviyazhsk was part of Ivan the Terrible's plan to conquer the Kazan Khanate. Russian troops were unable to take powerful Kazan without a well-fortified foothold in their own rear, so a wooden fortress was built in the upper Volga (with walls, churches, houses, etc.), comparable in size to the Moscow Kremlin. All the logs were marked, the fortress was dismantled, loaded onto rafts and, together with artillery, floated down the Volga. At the mouth of the Sviyaga River, near Kazan, rafts were fished out, and a fortress was reassembled from ready-made logs on Kruglaya Mountain in May 1551. The city built in this way became the base of the Russian troops during the siege of Kazan in 1552 and then became one of the main centers of the Christianization of the Tatars. For a long time it was Sviyazhsk, not Kazan, that was the capital of the entire region, but by the 18th century its importance began to decline.

With a rise in the water level in the Volga, Sviyazhsk ended up on an island, to which a dam was built only in 2008. "Island-city" Sviyazhsk became one of the prototypes of Buyan Island in Russian folklore and in Pushkin's "The Tale of Tsar Saltan".

The coat of arms of Sviyazhsk reflects the history of the creation of the city, which sailed on boats.

Get in[edit]

By boat[edit]

The most interesting way to Sviyazhsk is by motor boat along the Volga from Kazan in the summer. On the way, you can enjoy the beautiful Volga landscapes. Motor boats from Kazan to Sviyazhsk depart from the river station twice a day (with an interval of about 8 hours).

By car[edit]

From Kazan along the M7 highway (Naberezhnye Chelny - Moscow) towards Moscow, through Isakovo, then turn to Sviyazhsk. The journey takes about 1 hour. There is a parking lot at the entrance to Sviyazhsk.

By train[edit]

Near the island there is a railway station "Sviyazhsk", located in the village of Nizhnie Vyazovye. The distance from the station to Sviyazhsk is about 9 km. The best way to get there is by taxi (which can be found in front of the station or on the other side of the railway tracks, near the bridge across them), the cost of the trip is 250-300 rubles. In the summer there is a chance to catch a passing car.

Get around[edit]

On foot (there are few cars on the island, they are allowed on the island only with a pass). The dimensions of the island are approximately 1.5x0.5 km, and you can walk from edge to edge in 20 minutes. There is a tour of the island by carriage.


Holy Trinity Church
  • The Assumption Cathedral and Monastery. Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • Wooden Trinity Church (1551). The only thing that has survived from the fortress of Ivan the Terrible
  • Nikolskaya Church (1555)
  • Cathedral of Our Lady of All Who Sorrow Joy of the John the Baptist Monastery (1898-1906)
  • Sergius Church of the John the Baptist Monastery (late 16th - early 17th century)


  • Excursions are conducted on the island, there is a museum of the history of the city (visit is paid).
  • The mouth of the Sviyaga is a great place for hunting and fishing. Although it is a specially protected natural area and a state reserve of regional significance, amateur hunting and fishing in it are not prohibited. But due to the large number of protected (including those listed in the Red Book) fish, birds, animals and plants, it is necessary to have sufficient qualifications.



There are several cafes on the territory.



  • Hotel "Sviyaga"


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