No water cruise along the Volga river can be complete without stopping at this most interesting small historical town. Located in 30 km from Kazan, it occupies an island (or rather a peninsula) and boasts numerous remarkable landmarks.
Sviyazhsk started out as a military citadel (built in a matter of just four weeks!) almost 500 years ago. Over the years, the town has accumulated a lot of interesting sights, mostly churches and monasteries, including the UNESCO heritage Sviyazhsky Uspensky monastery.
In 1551–1552, the city of Sviyazhsk helped the troops of Ivan the Terrible to take Kazan. This small village (only 252 inhabitants) is located in the Zelenodolsk district of Tatarstan. Separated from the mainland by the Kuibyshev reservoir. In summer a passenger ship runs to the island.
Sviyazhsk is like a portal to the past. The treasure of the island is the Trinity Church (1551) - the first Orthodox Church on the Volga and the only building that survived the times of Ivan the Terrible. It was built from huge larch logs without a single nail and in just one light day.
In 2012, the Horse Yard was opened after the reconstruction, the building of which dates from the 16th century. Now the Horse Yard is an ethnographic center where you can dive into the atmosphere of antiquity.
There is no public transport, industry or modern buildings on the island - only the picturesque nature of the Middle Volga and numerous architectural monuments.
You can explore all the local attractions in a day, but fishing enthusiasts will probably want to stay longer. Sviyazhsk stands at the place where the river Sviyaga flows into the Volga; navigation begins in April and ends in October. Almost all locals have boats, so in summer the Volga shores are literally strewn with lovers of fishing.
If you visit the island, make sure to book a guided tour —the history of the place is amazing! If you like something out of the ordinary, go on an air tour in a three-seat plane offered by the local airdrome.