Country houses, mosques and pavilions in Kazan and Chistopol: Cultural Heritage Protection Committee announces plans for 2021
The Tatarstan Cultural Heritage Protection Committee has announced the list of buildings where reconstruction will start this year
From a perspective of work on cultural heritage sites that places that have special historical importance, this year will become fruitful enough for Tatarstan. Kazan and Chistopol will become the centre in this area. The Church of Michael the Archangel in Kamskoye Ustye District and one of the reconstructed buildings in the Black Lake Park in Kazan where a restaurant is scheduled to open in December will become the most recognisable and highly publicised places. Big reconstruction will began in Chistopol’s centre this year, while reconstructed houses are then planned to be sold by action. Chairman of the republican Cultural Heritage Protection Committee Ivan Gushchin talked about this on the eve of International Day For Monuments and Sites on 18 April.
Around 150 million rubles to restore buildings for two republican committees
On the eve of International Day For Monuments and Sites, on 17 April, Kazan intends to start the conservation of one of the cultural heritage sites on 4, Staraya Street. It is a former residential house dated back to the late 17th — early 18th centuries. The head of the Tatarstan Cultural Heritage Protection Committee urged everybody to join the campaign as a volunteer. Ivan Gushchin said that author of a Telegram channel about architecture Yan Gordeyev had addressed the committee with the initiative. It isn’t the first experience of joint work: a similar campaign took place in a 19th-century house on 2, Mekhovshchikov Street, or the Mazut trading house, in the winter of 2021.
Ivan Gushchin singled out recreated pavilions in the Black Lake Park in Kazan among completed projects. One of the facilities is already used — a rental is organised there. The second facility also finished — a restaurant will be located there. However, the establishment doesn’t yet have the final design project, Gushchin said and noted that it was planned to open the restaurant for guests later this year.
The building of an art college erected in Kazan in the early 19th century on 10, Tolstoy Street and was in the limelight many times underwent the first restoration stage. As Ivan Gushchin explained, “everything is under the committee’s control, and works in the building go on”.
The second stage of reconstruction awaits the Chukashyov House on 13, Gorky Street this year. The building where the Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism is based now was built in the early 20th century and is on the list of federal cultural heritage sites. The works are assessed at 83 million rubles, the money has already been allocated: it will be spent to restore the second floor, historical stairs, reinforcement of the building, the head of the committee explained.
One of the historical buildings built in 1837 was recently given to the Cultural Heritage Protection Committee. As Gushchin said, it is “the downtrodden Drotoyevsky House that was empty for long after its residents were rehoused”. This year, the committee has received about 70 million rubles to restore the building. The money will be spent on fire prevention works and project development whose goal is to adjust the space with complex planning for offices, for the committee’s employees. Though it isn’t always possible to adapt such sites to certain goals, Ivan Gushchin noted.
“The most important thing in a landmark is to save the value of the cultural heritage. Both to save and adapt are to mix these two things, it is mastery of the designer. We have such specialists in Kazan, so I don’t see problems here.”
More than 150 mosques and churches need restoration
Restorers will also soon come to the Novaya Sloboda Mosque or the White Mosque. As Ivan Gushchin noted, things are finally moving. The owner of the building, the Tatarstan Muslim Religious Directorate, has already defined funding sources. However, only the project that will be implemented this year will show how much money it will require.
Muslims’ place of worship needs to have its minaret reconstructed and the territory improved. Gushchin noted that precisely the area around the mosque that is obviously necessary raises most questions. The proximity of the mosque to the road and buildings of Melita factory create a problem. Moreover, the Tatarstan Muslim Religious Directorate recently voiced an idea — to build a madrasah next to the White Mosque. The mosque’s building plans to open this August “for religious needs”.
Tatarstan has more than 150 places of worship that need to be restored, Ivan Gushchin specified. Moreover, around 10-15% of them are unsafe. Especially churches are a sight for sore eyes, Gushchin noted, some of them already fell into ruin. As the chairman of the committee thinks, partly this happens because villages are abandoned, consequently, there is nobody to take care of them. Moreover, wooden churches can still be replaced into a densely populated area, Gushchin thinks. He is particularly talking about the Church of Michael the Archangel in Arkhangelsk Klyari village.
“Of course, now I will be criticised by Orthodox Christians for replacing the church, only 7 or 9 households left in Arkhangelsk Klyari village. Nevertheless, we made the decision hoping that by reconstructing the church we will reconstruct the village and the unique place can revive in the future.”
The reconstruction of a Kazan complex — Mukhammadia madrasah on Tukay Street — is about to end. “It is a matter of months,” the speaker assured the audience.
Church of Michael the Archangel in the hands of Kostroma masters
The republic’s districts will also be reconstructing historical and cultural heritage sites this year. Today the list of protected sites in Tatarstan includes around 2,500 buildings and facilities. The head of the committee especially mentioned the building of a veterinary college in Buinsk built in the early 20th century. Works are going to end in a merchant’s country house located in Izh-Bobya village in Agryz District where the village’s museum is due to open.
The country house of a 1st-guild merchant Valiulla Bakirov in Bolshoy Menger village in Atna District is going to become one of the unique sites for restorers. 3D scanning done in winter helped detect all architectural elements of the building, understand how much money it will need for restoration. Such a research method for historical buildings, Gushchin noted, accelerates the creation of design documentation. A children’s camp evacuated from Latvia where about 180 children were educated was situated in this building during the Great Patriotic War. The speaker added that this site is severely damaged: wooden constructions are worm-eaten.
The Church of Michael the Archangel built in the middle of the 18th century in Arkhangelsk Klyari village will probably become one of the long-awaited restored sites for the Tatarstan Cultural Heritage Protection Committee this year. Last year, its parts were scandalously taken away from famous Vologda restorer Alexander Popov.
Now masters of a company from Kostroma that has big experience in this area are restoring the wooden landmark, Gushchin said. They are doing restoration works daily so that the church will already host services in September.
However, since the constructions of the church were damaged very much, the restorers had to replace around 50-60% of unique historic details by rearrangement — when a rotten part is removed and a fresh material is placed instead.
Chistopol’s cultural heritage sites to be up for auction for 1 ruble
14 buildings at once in Chistopol that have cultural and historical importance are also expecting reconstruction this year. BRICS Development Bank’s programme on restoration of small historical cities includes 19 urban sites in total: 12 of them will be completely restored for museum reserves, the rest will see regeneration during which the facade and roofing will be restored, the foundation will be reinforced.
“In general 30 cultural heritage sites (it is resettled residential blocks) out of the total amount of landmarks are going to be given to potential investors according to a task set by the Tatarstan president,” added the head of the protection committee.
Gushchin specified that these houses will be encumbered: investors will be obliged to reconstruct them for 7 years according to a project provided by the committee. And 14 historical buildings in Chistopol’s centre on Lenin, Karl Marx and Tolstoy Streets will receive reconstruction projects by the end of the year. After that, the buildings will be sold by auction with the reserve price of just 1 ruble for a cultural heritage site.
The committee already has a positive experience of working with investors under Ivan Gushchin. One of the investors purchased three buildings as cultural heritage sites, which are a part of the country house of the Komarov Factory’s owner. Their total area was 666 square metres. Moreover, the owner purchased the buildings for 1 ruble, but the land they are located on was purchased for a market price. Now the investor is busy with developing a concept of how to use historical buildings further.