Tatar Money Museum opens in Kazan

An activist of Azatliq Union of Tatar Youth is among the founders

Tatar Money Museum opens in Kazan

Another museum began operating on Kayum Nasyri Street in early October. The Tatar Money Museum is located in a small room on the second floor of the building. Here one can have a look at exhibits of numismatics and trade — from coins and banknotes to books and posters. It is noteworthy that Nail Nabiullin, one of the leaders of Azatliq Union of Tatar Youth, is one of the founders of the museum.

From chocolate coins to real ones

Azatliq has been famous for not only numerous protests in the last years. For instance, in August Nabiullin went outside with a banner “Albert Razin Lives in Hearts of Millions” reminding the public about the anniversary of death of Udmurt scientist Albert Razin. On the one hand, his sentence in 2017 was widely discussed in the press when Kazan’s Vakhitov Court found him guilty of false testimony about skinhead Sergey Zhuravlyov. Then Nabiullin was given a two years’ suspended sentence with two years' probation. On the other hand, Azatliq has more positive actions as well. For instance, a website dedicated to writer Gayaz Iskhaki appeared this year (http://isxaki.com). One can read his numerous compositions that used to be unavailable online. Iskhaki’s famous book Zuleikha was printed in paper at the peak of Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes novel and series.

Moreover, activists have recently allocated money to update inscriptions and weekly maintenance of Iskhaki’s grave in Turkey. Nabiullin is also famous as a marathoner, moreover, he often runs with Tatarstan’s flag. In honour of the 750th Anniversary of the Golden Horde in 2019, Nail ran from the Kremlin to Bolgar.

As Nabiullin who poses himself as editor-in-chief of Turkic Outlook newspaper on Facebook says, the story about the museum began when Azatliq produced 2,000 chocolate coins by the 750th Anniversary of the Golden Horde and celebration of New Year. “With an intention to make children happy, with a desire to put them in a good mood, at the same time without forgetting the educational job”. On one side, it had Mengu-Timur’s seal with an inscription “The Golden Horde State is 750 Years Old”, the reverse has a leopard and the sun. Such coins used to be forged in Saray city under Khan Ozbeg in 1336-1337.

“After that, we began to think about a museum,” Nail says. “A collection accumulated step by step. Numismatists sold us a part of them in Tinchurin Park. We talked with experts, they presented us them. We bought something on the Net. We accumulated a collection from all over the world within six months.”

What does the museum have now?

“It has about 300 exhibits. Tatar money, Golden Horde, Kazan Khanate, Khazar Khaganate money. By showing this money to people we want to familiarise them with the history of the Tatars, the states, what money was used in different cities, in Bolgar, Saray. We also have coins from African countries, Kazakhstan, Turkey and others they used to use. Our exposition also has posters — samples of advertising, information about merchants. We have books on numismatics. Talking about them we want to arouse people’s interest in Tatar culture. It is our first experience, we don’t know how to open museums, we are just trying.”

About money, trade and Tatar numismatics

The museum itself, of course, is far from being perfect and resembles a school exposition. Coins and banknotes with necessary information, scientific books lay on several tables, while posters with stories about trade, explanation of Tatar figures linked with commerce hand on the walls. Atilla’s photo stand-in occupies big space.

We can’t help but ask if the museum is a continuation of the political activity. “It is a separate independent project. Of course, it is linked with my people, and here we want to show its history. We want to organise evenings dedicated to Tatar numismatists, merchants, we’re interested in Musa Akyiğitzade, Nail Sheldi. Because there is Tatar numismatics, but people know little about it, same Azgar Mukhammadiyev.”

According to Nabiullin, the place was found on the Internet. It is noteworthy that the Tatarstan Committee for Protection of Cultural Heritage Sites had questions about this house that has other travel agencies. The timbered building has recently been painted yellow, which wasn’t approved by the authorities. So the owners have to change its colour. As for the museum, the admission is free at the moment: “We will start charging in the future to cover rent costs. But our organisational and legal form hasn’t been defined yet. All excursions for students and schoolchildren are free”.

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By Radif Kashapov. Author’s photos
Tatarstan