Day for Monuments and Sites in Kazan dedicated to Tom Sawyer Fest

Historic preservation activists and experts in local history tell citizens of Kazan about the job done and get ready to save the next historical houses

Day for Monuments and Sites in Kazan dedicated to Tom Sawyer Fest Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

The International Day for Monuments and Sites created by the UNESCO International Council on Monuments and Sites is celebrated on 18 April. Two events were dedicated to this date in Kazan: How to Love City Not Just in Words photo exhibition and an excursion to houses that were restored and will be restored by Tom Sawyer Fest participants. The Tatarstan regional office of the All-Russian Site and Culture Preservation Society and the Guild of Guides of the Republic of Tatarstan became the organisers. Realnoe Vremya's correspondent visited Kazan historical streets together with historic preservation activists and experts in local history.

''The city also becomes beautiful if it's loved by those who live in it''

How to Love City Not Just in Words photo exhibition at the entrance to Koltso shopping centre is dedicated to Tom Sawyer Fest's social initiative, which is aimed to restore sites of the urban historical environment by communal efforts. To put it simply, all people who want to go to repair and restore one of the old houses in free time. A compulsory condition is that these houses mustn't be under public protection. The festival's name, as one can easily guess, comes from Mark Twain's story how Tom Sawyer organised fence painting. Tom Sawyer Fest's homeland is Samara, but Kazan can count on leadership in terms of activity and scale. The photos show the houses that got their previous noble appearance and participants of the campaign.

The Tatarstan president's aide Olesya Baltusova opened the Kazan Day for Monuments who thanked Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering for help to prepare the exhibition.

Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Tatarstan Svetlana Persova paid attention to the link of Tom Sawyer Fest to the Year of Volunteers, which is now:

''I hope that this movement, which gathers pace every year, will become far bigger this year. And you all who participated in this campaign will have new supporters. And our city will improve because as kids grow up happy if they're loved, the city also becomes beautiful if it's loved by those who live in it.''

The photos show the houses that got their previous noble appearance and participants of the campaign

What houses will be repaired in 2018

Famous Kazan guide Aydar Sadykov brought the participants of the Day for Monuments from Koltso to Volkova Street on Petersburg Street – it's an island of wooden Kazan, which has many facilities of Tom Sawyer Fest.

The first house on a steep slope along the brick wall on 14, Volkova has already been added to the Tom Sawyer Fest programme in 2018. The big construction is located in the foothills on Tikhomirnov Street. Update of the exterior will help the old house to save face near modern buildings and Shamov Hospital, which is going through revival now. The house residents' agreement is another compulsory condition, so that volunteers can start working.

A total of seven houses will become Tom Sawyer Fest facilities in 2018. They can be enumerated: 14, Volkova; 4, Kalinina; 12, Dostoyevsky; 19/21, Shchapova; 14, Sara Sadykova; 33, Tukay; 11, Fatikh Karim.

Famous Kazan guide Aydar Sadykov brought the participants of the Day for Monuments from Koltso to Volkova Street on Petersburg Street

President came here by rare car

Last year's festival ended at the next point of the excursion – 29, Volkova Street. It was a traditional day of celebrations on 30 August. The visit of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov on rare GAZ-69 was the culmination of the holiday, which took place in the yard of the wooden two-storeyed house.

The house was built according to the project in 1902 for the seventh land administration commission's director's wife Aleksandra Raspopova, and it belonged to her until 1923. The lettering with the name of the first owner was put on the façade by volunteers.

The house on 42/1, Volkova became the next site of last year's festival. Participant of the restoration Yan Tinchurin, who is a blacksmith, told about the repair of roofing above the porch of this house.

Not all houses on Volkova can be repaired by the volunteers' efforts

Inspection and restoration project of Bogorodsky House is 400K rubles

Not all houses on Volkova can be repaired by the volunteers' efforts. The neighbouring house of famous chemist Aleksey Bogorodsky (1870-1943) with his office is protected by the country and subject to restoration only by professional contractors. However, only inspection and a draft project of this house's restoration are evaluated at 400,000 rubles.

The house No. 40, which hid in a shadowed yard, wasn't among the sites as well. We managed to talk with local resident Galina Dmitriyevna, who told their house was built 106 years ago and the apple tree in front of the entrance appeared at the same time. This house is private, this is why it's not so easy to resettle it. The house No. 38, painted green, was municipal and resettled 15 years ago, it's been empty since then. The residents of the house No. 40 don't want to move to one of the dormitory towns.

''It's so calm here. And this apple tree is here. You should see how many apples it has in summer and how much snow there is in winter – it's a fairy tale. The garden is around here, while the garden has flowers and everything,'' told Galina Dmitriyevna.

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By Mark Shishkin. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov
Tatarstan