town of KASIMOV 3
Kasimov (Касимов) — district center at the North-East of Ryazan' region. Population — 34 thousands (2004), coordinates 54°54´ N, 41°20´ E. Situated at the left (Northern, high) bank of River Oka, at the confluence of Rivers Babenka and Siverka.
Southwestern corner of Sovetskaya
The town was founded (as a matter of fact, an existing at the time Ugric settlement
taken over) in 1152 by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky somewhat downstream from the current
location of the town. The name given to the new fortress was Gorodets-Meshchersky
(meaning Little Fortress in Meshchera — basin of lower River Oka).
It served to protect the
frontiers of Vladimir-Suzdal' principality against nomadic tribes. In 1237-1240,
invasion of Mongols led by Batu Khan destroyed Russian statehood. After the invasion,
the town became the center of Meshchera principality, which was governed by
Tartar princes who adopted christianity (Tartars are traditionally Muslim). This
principality was separating Russia proper and the
the Tartar state
founded by the Mongols after the invasion. As such, it was vulnerable to attacks from
both sides. Thus, in 1373 the town was desolated by the troops by Tartar
with the full approval of Moscow Prince Dmitry. (Six years later, in 1380,
the very same Dmitry, later known as
— Dmitry of Don, and the
very same Mamai fought against each other at Kulikovo field, and the Russian
victory basically meant the end of the dependence of Russia from the Golden Horde).
After the desolation, the town was restored at the place it occupies now.
In 1445, Moscow Prince
the Second (later blinded by his rivals and hence
known as Vasily Temny — Vasily the Blind) suffered a serious military defeat from
the Golden Horde (its capital was just before the event moved to Kazan') and was taken
prisoner. He had to sign a peace treaty which, in particular, gave Gorodets-Meshchersky
as a domain to Kasim, son of the Khan of Kazan'. This domain became Kasimov Khanate
(Khanate of Kasim), which existed until 1681. From 1471 the town was known as Kasimov
(Khan-Kerman in Tartar). Kasimov Khanate became the area of compact settlement
of Tartars, who moved there not only from Kazan', but also from Crimea and other areas.
Kasimov Prince Simeon Bekbulatovich (Simeon son of Bekbulat), who was baptized and
lost the rights to Kasimov succession, was for eleven months appointed the formal
ruler of Russia. The story was that
Terrible, who was at the time Russian
Tsar, in 1575 declared the intention to quit the business and left for Petrovka
(which is now right in the center of Moscow, but at the time was a remote suburb).
For a long time (even after Kazan' was annexed and became a part of Russia!) Moscow
paid the tribute to the khanate, but then the latter lost the importance and
eventually was abolished, and the family of Kasimov princes became extinct in 1700.
As a part of administrative reforms of Peter the Great, Russia was divided into
governorships. They did not know for a long time where to put Kasimov —
it was a part of Kazan', then of Azov Governorship, but finally after the
administrative reform of Catherine the Great in 1778 ended up as a district
town in Ryazan' Governorship. In 19th century, industry was rapidly developing,
the town became an important industrial center.
|What to see|
Time required: at least 4 hours.
Why to visit Kasimov: unique monuments of Tartar architecture of 15th-17th centuries; old building of the town center; picturesque location.
Old mosque (1768) with a minaret (1476). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter
Street names. In Soviet times, Kasimov did not manage to
avoid the common trouble of all Russian cities and towns — total
renaming of streets in favor of Communist characters. To facilitate the
orientation, we use below the current names, but feel that it is important to give
the old names.
Monuments of Tartar architecture. Old Tartar quarter
(Tatarskaya sloboda — Tartar suburb) is situated around Ploshchad' Pobedy,
formerly Khanskaya ploshchad' - Khan square. There once stood the Khan's palace,
which is not preserved till our time. Already during the reign of the first
ruler of Kasimov, Khan Kasim, the white-stone
(1476, ploshchad' Pobedy, 9) was built. However, from that time only the minaret
survived. It is one of the oldest preserved buildings of Tartar (or, generally,
Muslim) architecture in Russia. The mosque proper was demolished in the beginning
of 18th century because of "dilapidation", and in 1768 a one-floor mosque
was built on the existing foundation. The second floor was added in 1830, and
some details of external decoration even later. Currently, the building of the
mosque hosts Kasimov Regional Museum; the minaret is also open for the public.
Next to the Old Mosque stands Tekie of Shakh-Ali
(1555, ploshchad' Pobedy) — the mausoleum of Khan Shakh-Ali, where the khan
himself and some of his relatives are buried. New Mosque
(ulitsa Narimanova, 20) was built in the beginning of 20th century. Higher (further from
River Oka) from the New Mosque on ulitsa Narimanova there is an old
Muslim cemetery, where one can find tombstones
of 18th and 19th centuries. Very far from the town center (about an hour walk),
behind the ravine of River Babenka, there is a brickstone
Tekie of Avgan-Sultan, the mausoleum of a
son of one of Kasimov khans (1658, the furthest from River Oka end of Malaya
(Assumption Church, 1756-1775).
Russian Architecture. The town center was considerably rebuilt after the fire of 1828, mainly in the empire style. The main town square is Sovetskaya ploshchad', which contains Voznesensky Sobor (Ascension Cathedral, 1854-1862, architect Voronikhin), baroque Uspenskaya Tserkov' (Assumption Church, 1756-1775), Blagoveshchenskaya Tserkov' (Annunciation Church, 1740) with a hip-roofed bell-tower, and a number a civil buildings. Among them — masterpieces of local architect Ivan Sergeevich Gagin (1767-1844), who in the beginning of 19th century was responsible for rearrangement of the town: trading arcades, building of the municipal administration, building of the female high-school, and Alyanchikov Family House, which currently hosts the Regional museum. Next to the square, along Sovetskaya ulitsa up to ulitsa Karla Marksa, there is a sequence of merchant houses. Kastrov House is at the other side — one finds it at Naberezhnaya ulitsa, downstream from Sovetskaya ploshchad'. In a pleasant contrast with the majority of Russian towns which turn to big and small rivers by junkyards, industrial areas, or at least by inner yards of principal streets, in Kasimov an embankment (architect Gagin), which is however still on a high bank of River Oka, is one of the main streets (only upstream from Sovetskaya ploshchad'). In Novy Posad one finds baroque Troitskaya Tserkov' (Trinity Church, 18th century, ploshchad' Sverdlova) and Nikol'skaya Tserkov' (Nicholas Church, 1705, ploshchad' Pionerov). The oldest church of Kasimov, Bogoyavlenskaya Tserkov' (Epiphany Church, 1694-1700, Sadovaya ulitsa, 1) is in Pushkarskaya Sloboda, considerably far downstream from the town center. Since the church contains a chapel consecrated to Saint George, it is sometimes known as Georgievskaya Tserkov' (St. George Church). Even further downstream, in Stary Posad (behind River Babenka), there is Il'inskaya Tserkov' (St. Iliya Church, 1820-1848, Staroposadskaya ulitsa, not restored).
Kasimov is also remarkable for its monuments of wooden architecture. Typical are houses with a stone ground floor and a wooden first floor; also, fences with gates decorated with an ornament.
Regional Museum. Address: Sovetskaya ploshchad' (Alyanchikov Family House). Opening hours: 9:30-17, closed Monday. Exhibits: Painting and applied arts; history; interior of a town mansion; Russian and Tartar ethnographic collections. A part of the museum (same opening hours, additional entrance fee) is in the building of the Old Mosque. Address: ploshchad' Pobedy, 9. The Old Mosque hosts Tartar ethnographic collection. Climbing up the minaret is included in the price (and much recommended).
Meshchera3 — a separate page is planned.
Gus'-Zhelezny2 — a separate page is planned.
Elat'ma1 — a separate page is planned.
Time: Moscow time (GMT +3).
Where to eat. The choice of restaurants in Kasimov is very limited. We recommend Café Vechernee, next to the bus station (June 2004).
Where to stay. Hotel Kasimov, ulitsa Lenina 30B (at the corner of Lenin and Tatarskaya streets); phone (09131) 2-26-80. Singles 200 roubles, doubles 175-200 roubles per bed (June 2004). Close to the town, in the village of Selizovo — holiday center Prioka, phone (09131) 3-10-95, 3-02-25, fax (09131) 2-22-25, doubles and suites. If you making the trip from Moscow, you can see Kasimov in a day and avoid staying overnight, but in this case you will have to use an overnight bus.
Voznesensky Sobor (Ascension Cathedral, 1854-1862). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter
Kastrov House. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter
Building of the municipal administration. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter
Bogoyavlenskaya Tserkov' (Epiphany Church, 1694-1700). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter
Tekie of Shakh-Ali (1555). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter
Tekie of Avgan-Sultan (1658). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter
Embankment. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter
Embankment. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter
© Photo by the authors
Author of this page: Yaroslav Blanter. Acknowledgements: Anton Tilipman for information.
Last updated: 09.02.05.
2005 © Guide to Russia (Authors). All Rights Reserved.