Kazan

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Kazan

Kazan (kəzän´, –zăn´, Rus. kəzä´nyə), 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 AD 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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