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Tour the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan

The historical city of Kazan is one of the biggest cities in Russia and serves as a commercial, cultural and industrial powerhouse. As a cultural center, it is a vital protector of the ancient Tatar culture and many museums and monuments in Kazan educate the public on the Tatars and their significant history in Russia, and in the city. It is also the Republic of Tatarstan’s capital city and amongst the bustle of everyday life, museums such as the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan, allow quiet moments of reflection on the past up to the present.

The museum building was constructed between the years 1800 and 1815 under the supervision of architect F. Emelyanov. It served as a trade centre and in 1895 the western wing of the building was added. In the same year as the addition of this wing, the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan opened their doors to the public on the 5th of April. In 1995, restoration work to the building took place to conserve the building as both a historical monument and as a testimonial to the architectural capabilities of the time. Because of tremendous fire damage that was caused to the main building in 1987, the museum had only been using approximately a thousand square feet for their exhibitions. In 2000, reconstruction work began and once complete, it will add another six thousand square feet to the building.

One of the most prized possessions of the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan, is the private collection of Andrey Likhachev. He was the uncle of the well known and first sigillographer in Russia, Nikolay Petrovich Likhachev. His expertise on seals led to many projects and he was inaugurated in 1925 as a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Andrey Likhachev on the other hand was a historian, collector and archaeologist, making his artifacts and collection pieces invaluable to the museum. Other exhibits at the museum include Egyptian antiques, art, weaponry, jewelry, coins, ancient books, religious wall paintings, pottery, copper artifacts and documents. Of the documents in the museum, the most treasured is the document that was brought to the museum in 1920. The document is the Yarlyk that was issued by Khan Sakhib-Girei to a family in 1523. It was a legal document that stated that the particular family was free of paying duties, estate taxes and normal taxes. It was extremely valuable to the family and was passed down through the generations. On discovering the Yarlyk, it was translated in 1912, after which the museum purchased the rare find.

The museum is more than just an attraction in Kazan, it is a reminder of the history of Russia, the humble beginnings of the city and serves as an educator of the future. All the secrets and history of Kazan and the Tatar are safely preserved within the walls of the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan.


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