Historical Background

The place of juncture of the Sviyaga and Volga, rich with numerous lakes and backwaters full of fish, attracted attention of man from ancient times. The archaeological findings testify to the fact that people were actively colonising these lands as early as 4000 – 6000 years B.C. Later, these lands were occupied by Finno-Ugric tribes. At the period of the Volga Boulgaria and the Kazan Khanate, they were a part of the territory under control of these states. The round mountain, a geological butte on the high right bank of the Volga, was at that time covered by thick forest surrounded by flood meadows. The written sources state that there was a sacred grove of the pagan Cheremiss tribes here.

The history of construction of the town of Sviyazhsk is really amazing. In winter 1550, almost 800 kilometres from the Round Mountain, in the remote forests near Uglich, a town was made of wood, with walls, towers, churches and residential houses, which was later, in spring 1551, dismantled and transported to the estuary of the Sviyaga. Within just four weeks, a large fortress of the Moscow kingdom was erected under the guidance of scribe Ivan Vyrodkov, which exceeded in its size the fortresses of Moscow, Pskov or Novgorod of that period. After the fall of Kazan in 1552, Sviyazhsk was, for a short time, an administrative centre of the entire conquered region. Later, it controlled the annexed lands on the right bank of the Volga. It was from here that warriors went to take part in the numerous wars of the 16th - 18th centuries.

It was here where they also sent state prisoners or those who simply fell from grace to the Uspensky (Assumption) Monastery. Sviyazhsk achieved the peak of its economic development in the 17th - 18th centuries, when it was crossed by major trade routes. After the reform of provinces, Sviyazhsk became the centre of a district of the rich Kazan Province. From the earliest times Sviyazhsk was famous for its temples and monasteries. Preserved until our days is the ensemble of the men’s Uspensky (Assumption) Monastery founded in the 16th century, the buildings of the Troitsky (Trinity) Monastery which in the 19th century were occupied by nuns of the Ioanno-Predtechensky (John the Forerunner) Convent, and a parish church, the Constantine and Helen Church, the only one that survived the storms of the early 20th century.

The rich history of the late mediaeval town preserved in Sviyazhsk owing to the unique wet archaeological layer that formed after the creation of the Kuibyshev water reservoir in 1956. Together with the whole country, Sviyazhsk lived through the tragic events of the 20th century: World War I, the Civil War, the period of political repressions, when a large portion of the area of Sviyazhsk was occupied by repressive institutions, the Great Patriotic War, which took away the lives of several hundreds of citizens of Sviyazhsk, the troublous years of the collapse of the USSR. Like everywhere, political turmoil reflected in broken fates, degradation of the economy, awful destructions of the beautiful monuments of history and culture. Fortunately, the establishment of the “Renaissance” Foundation helped Sviyazhsk to see its re-birth: the monuments of architecture are being restored, services are being conducted in its temples, the development of tourism helps revive the economy of Sviyazhsk, which, together with the ancient Bolgar, is a symbol of revival of spirituality and deep moral potential of our multi-national people. 
Last updated: Apr, 03, 2013, 20:03
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