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Ryazan' Region — 62rus

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 
        ploshchad'.<br> Center - Alyanchikov Family House. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Southwestern corner of Sovetskaya ploshchad'.
Center - Alyanchikov Family House. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

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 Golden Horde, 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 Mamai, with the full approval of Moscow Prince Dmitry. (Six years later, in 1380, the very same Dmitry, later known as Dmitry Donskoy — 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 Vasily 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 Ivan the 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.

Kasimov is naturally divided into parts by obstacles — ravines descending to River Oka (some of them with brooks). From the West to the East, the following historical areas are distinguished: Novy Posad (New Trading Quarter) — between River Siverka and Nikol'sky Ravine; Center — between Nikol'sky and Uspensky Ravines; Tatarskaya Sloboda (Tartar Suburb) — downstream from Nikol'sky Ravine; Pushkarskaya Sloboda (Cannon-founder Suburb) — upstream from River Babenka; Stary Posad (Old Trading Quarter) — downstream from River Babenka. One can either avoid the ravines by walking round their sources or to cross them next to River Oka.

 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

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.

  • Dolgaya ulitsa (Long street) between Sovetskaya ulitsa and River Babenka — renamed into ulitsa Bol'shakova;
  • Vladimirskaya (Dvoryanskaya) ulitsa (Vladimir street) — into ulitsa Volodarskogo;
  • Korotkaya (Myasnitskaya) ulitsa (Short street) — into ulitsa Vorovskogo;
  • Gostinnaya ulitsa (Trade street) — into ulitsa Gubareva;
  • Pyatnitskaya ulitsa (St. Paraskeva Pyatnitsa street) — into ulitsa Dzerzhinskogo;
  • Bol'shaya Meshchanskaya ulitsa (Big Bourgeois street) between Sovetskaya ulitsa and River Babenka — into ulitsa Ilyushkina;
  • Malaya Meshchanskaya ulitsa (Little Bourgeois street) between Sovetskaya ulitsa and River Siverka — into ulitsa Karla Libknechta;
  • Bol'shaya Meshchanskaya ulitsa (Big Bourgeois street) between Sovetskaya ulitsa and River Siverka — into ulitsa Karla Marksa;
  • Tyuremnaya ulitsa (Prison street) — into ulitsa Kokoreva;
  • Drovyanaya ulitsa (Firewood street) — into ulitsa Komarova;
  • Zatinnaya (Nastavinskaya) ulitsa — into Komsomol'skaya ulitsa;
  • Chernovskaya (Zagorodnaya) ulitsa — into ulitsa Lenina;
  • Sennaya ploshchad' (Hay square) — into ploshchad' Lenina;
  • Dolgaya (Monastyrskaya) ulitsa (Long street) — into ulitsa Lunacharskogo;
  • Sarovskaya (Gorodtsovskaya) ulitsa — into Oktyabr'skaya ulitsa;
  • Nikol'skaya ploshchad' (St. Nicholas square) — into ploshchad' Pionerov;
  • Troitskaya ulitsa (Trinity street) — into Proletarskaya ulitsa;
  • Kuznechnaya ulitsa (Blacksmith street) — into ulitsa 50-letiya VLKSM;
  • Kazanskaya ulitsa (Kazan' street) — into ulitsa Sverdlova;
  • Bol'shaya (Sobornaya) ulitsa (Big street) — into Sovetskaya ulitsa;
  • Yamskaya sloboda (Coachman suburb) — into Sovetskaya ulitsa;
  • Malaya Meshchanskaya ulitsa (Little Bourgeois street) between Sovetskaya ulitsa and River Babenka — into ulitsa Fedorovoi;
  • Zabolotnaya ulitsa (Behind-the-swamp street) — into ulitsa Uritskogo;
  • Khlebnaya ulitsa (Bread street) — into ulitsa Chizhova;
  • Khlebnaya ploshchad' (Bread square) — into ploshchad' Chizhova.

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 Old Mosque (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 Okskaya ulitsa).

         Tserkov' (Assumption Church). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Uspenskaya Tserkov' (Assumption Church, 1756-1775).
Photo: Yaroslav Blanter.

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).

 Around Kasimov

Meshchera3 — a separate page is planned.

Gus'-Zhelezny2 — a separate page is planned.

Elat'ma1 — a separate page is planned.

 Practical Information

Time: Moscow time (GMT +3).

How to get there. A bus from Moscow (Central bus station, metro station Shchelkovskaya, 5 daily, icluding one overnight, additionally two on Sunday, 7h), Ryazan', Sasovo, and Murom (2h). Bus schedules in Russian can be found here. The bus station is 10-15 minutes walk from the town center (Sovetskaya ulitsa, 134).

By car: From Moscow M5 (Ryazan' Highway), then turn to P105 (Egor'evsk Highway), pass Egor'evsk and Spas-Klepiki. From Moscow Ring road to Kasimov 260 km. From Ryazan', take P123 direction Spas-Klepiki, then turn to P105 direction Kasimov, 160 km. From Murom 87 km.

By train: Kasimov is the terminal station at the railway line which starts from station Ushinsky (line Ryazan' - Samara). The railway station is far from the town center, at the right bank of River Oka; the bridge is in the far Northern suburb of the town. All passenger traffic at the line — two trains daily (each way) from station Shilovo; one of them takes a connecting direct carriage from Moscow. The train takes 3h to pass 90 km from Shilovo, and departure and arrival times are inconvenient. If the purpose of your trip is not an acquaintance with this line, it does not make much sense to take the train.

There is no passenger navigation on River Oka.

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.

 Additional Resources



        Sobor (Ascension Cathedral). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Voznesensky Sobor (Ascension Cathedral, 1854-1862). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Kastrov House. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Kastrov House. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Building of the municipal administration. 
        Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Building of the municipal administration. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Bogoyavlenskaya Tserkov' 
        (Epiphany Church). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Bogoyavlenskaya Tserkov' (Epiphany Church, 1694-1700). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Tekie of Shakh-Ali (1555). 
        Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Tekie of Shakh-Ali (1555). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Tekie of Avgan-Sultan (1658). 
        Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Tekie of Avgan-Sultan (1658). Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Embankment. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Embankment. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Embankment. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

Embankment. Photo: Yaroslav Blanter

 © Photo by the authors

Directory 62rus Comments and Suggestions Русский

Author of this page: Yaroslav Blanter. Acknowledgements: Anton Tilipman for information. Last updated: 09.02.05.
  2005 © Guide to Russia (Authors). All Rights Reserved.