Situated at the confluence of the Sviyaga, Volga and Shchuka rivers, the island town of Sviyazhsk is reknowned for its history, its Russian Orthodox heritage and unique cultural landscape created by nature and people. Sviyazhsk was founded in the 16th century by Tsar Ivan the Terrible as a formidable fortress used as a base for the siege of Kazan.
Known since the 13th century, originally Sviyazhsk used to be a sacred place for pagans in the region. Since its foundation in 1551 and the construction of monasteries in and around the town, for centuries, it was an all-Russian Orthodox sanctuary attracting people from all across the country.
Sviyazhsk was one of the first camps for political prisoners, as well as a Gulag camp, in the Soviet era, and today is a place of memory of the victims of Stalin's repressions. In 1997, the ownership of the Assumption monastery was returned to the Diocese of Kazan that intends to bring new life to the historic town. Currently, the historic monuments of Sviyazhsk are undergoing extensive restoration and the town has been included in the Preliminary List of UNESCO's World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
The island boasts remarkable architectural sites, original 16th
century wall-paintings, Russian Orthodox cultural and historic buildings, 37 of which are protected by the state:
the Assumption Cathedral (16th century), Saints Constantine and Helen’s church (16-18th century), Trinity Church, the Sviyazhsk Ioanno-Predtechensky (John the Forerunner) Monastery (16th century), St. Sergius church and the Cathedral of Joy of All Who Sorrow.
You will see a wooden Trinity Church that marked 460 years since its foundation in 2011. It is an unprecedented example in the world's history when a fort and a fortress settlement were simultaneously founded and populated: the fortress was built in only four weeks by 75,000 people.
The Sviyazhsk Historical Museum will open to you 'the secrets of the island of Sviyazhsk" at its exhibition of archeological finds and unique photos of Sviyazhsk views.
You will get a glimpse of the island-town's incredible fate full of glory and turbulence. You will never forget the exceptional beauty of the smooth water surface of the Sviyaga, Volga and Shchuka Rivers, and the vast surrounding natural areas, the air and the fragrence of flowers and herbs.
The Idle Torzhok — a historical reconstruction, located on the island — invites you to join in the atmosphere of a medieval island, watch medieval fights, act as a warrior or craftsman and enjoy medieval food.
The tour last for four hours.