Guide to iconic locations of Musa Dzhalil in Kazan

A walk through the streets where the poet lived and worked and where his memory is immortalised

This year marks the 115th anniversary of the birth of famous Tatar poet Musa Dzhalil. Realnoe Vremya offers a walk through the iconic historical locations in Kazan, connected with the life and work of the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Tatar State Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Musa Dzhalil

The first location on the route is the Tatar Academic State Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Musa Dzhalil — one of the largest theatres in Russia.

The wooden theatre was built in 1803, but burned down in the great fire of 1842.­­­­­­ The first performances in the new brick building began in 1851, but in 1874, the theatre burned down again.­­­­­­­­­­­­ The Kazan Theatre was rebuilt in 1875, but after another fire in 1919, it was no longer restored.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

In 1934, a decree was issued on the establishment of the Tatar State Opera Theatre in Kazan.­­­­­­­­­­­­­ In 1939, the theatre opened with the opera 'Kachkyn' by Nazib Zhiganov.­­­­­­­ There was no building of its own, the performances were performed on the stages of other theatres.­­­­­­­­­ The construction of its own stage began in 1936, designed by Moscow architect Skvortsov.­­­­­­­­­­­­ In 1956, the new theatre building on Ploschad Svoobody was opened by Zhiganov's opera 'Altynchech'.­­­­­­­­­­­ In the same year, the theatre was named after Musa Dzhalil.­­­­ Before the war, the poet was in charge of the literary part here.­­­­­­­­

Tatar Academic State Opera and Ballet Theatre named after M. Dzhalil is the second most attended hall in Russia. Photo: Maksim Platonov

The repertoire of the theatre consists of world musical masterpieces, Russian classics and legendary works of Tatar composers.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Since 1994, he has conducted an annual international tour of Europe, giving more than 100 performances a year. According to Forbes magazine (2009), the Tatar Academic State Opera and Ballet Theater named after M. Dzhalil is the second most attended hall in Russia (93%).­­­­­­­ It hosts major International Opera Festivals named after F.I. Shalyapin and of Classical Ballet named after R. Nureyev.

Near the building, there are monuments to Alexander Pushkin and Gabdulla Tukay, and recently a monument has been erected to Rudolf Nureyev.­­­­­­ Nearby, there is a square with a fountain and flower beds.­­­

Musa Dzhalil Street

The next location of the tour is one of the central streets of the city. Musa Dzhalil Street stretches for several hundred metres to the south of the Kazan Kremlin.

Previously, the street was called Petropavlovskaya — in honour of the picturesque Peter and Paul Cathedral located on it. This temple continues to be one of the main decorations of the street today, especially after the recent restoration. Besides, a Sunday school and a church shop were opened here.

It was home to the Merchant Bank, opened in 1873. Photo:

Then the street was called Bankovkaya because there was the Merchant Bank, opened in 1873. Now the head office of Avers Bank is located in the n old mansion on Musa Dzhalil Street, 3.

There are also many historic buildings on this street. Today, a number of schools are open here: the St. Petersburg School of Beauty, International School of Professions of Kazan, School of Dance, School of Design and Photography.

Musa Dzhalil Apartment Museum

In the house where the poet's museum is located, on 17 Maksim Gorky Street, Dzhalil lived in 1940-1941. The museum consists of two adjacent apartments, one of them is a memorial, the second is an exhibition hall and a literary salon. Here the Tatar poet lived when he led the Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Union of Writers of Tatarstan, from here he was sent to the front.

The original atmosphere was restored by the museum staff according to the stories of contemporaries and relatives: the widow of Dzhalil — Amina Zalilova, S. Khakim, N. Zhiganov, G. Kashshaf. . The exhibition consists of personal belongings of Musa Dzhalil and his family, as well as things of that time. Among the memorial items, there is a mandolin that Musa Dzhalil bought in 1934. There is also a photo album here. In the office of the writer, things are arranged as in his lifetime. Many exhibits were presented to the museum by the widow of the poet, Amina Zalilova: a desk, a personal library of 216 books.

Exhibition consists of personal belongings of Musa Dzhalil and his family, as well as things of that time. Photo:

In the exhibition hall, there is an interactive exhibition for children 'At Musa's'. It imitates the life of a village Tatar izba, in which the poet once lived. There are classes with young visitors: they are told Tatar legends and fairy tales, they are taught ethnic crafts.

Monument to Musa Dzhalil

The last stop on the route is the monument to Musa Dzhalil on Kremlevskaya Street, 1. This unique sculpture complex was installed in 1966. It consists of three parts: a figure of the poet with a height of 7,9 metres, a granite wall and a platform. Since 1974, this object has been included in the list of cultural monuments of national significance.

The monument is located near the walls of the Kazan Kremlin and the City Duma. Earlier, before 1918, there was a monument to Alexander II on this place. Architect L.G. Golubovsky worked on the project, sculptor V. E. Tsigal realised it. . The grand opening of the monument in 1966 was timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the poet's birth.

Main object, of course, is the sculpture of Musa Dzhalil itself. Photo:

The granite platform acts not only as a pedestal for the sculpture of Dzhalil, but also as a foundation for benches and flower beds. There is a flower garden nearby. Memorial events, days of mourning for those killed in the war with the laying of flowers are held on the site. On the granite wall, visitors can read the lines of the poet's poems in Tatar and Russian. Stylised swallows decorate the composition. On the wall, there are also portraits of soldiers who suffered at the hands of the fascists in the struggle for freedom. These are ten members of the Tatar underground — members of the famous Kurmashev group.

The main object, of course, is the sculpture of Musa Dzhalil itself. It differs with the original, carefully crafted composition. This monument, like Dzhalil himself, symbolises the people's struggle, freedom and independence, it is an icon of the city and the republic. The monument attracts the attention of passers-by, making them think.

By Mariam Adzhavi