Cathedral of the Annunciation is an outstanding monument of Russian architecture of the 16th century. The cathedral with its sparkling gold domes beautifully rises in the center of the Kazan Kremlin Complex, added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient temple is a witness of past times; many pages of the Russian history are connected with it. Mere metres from the cathedral located the magnificent Kul Sharif mosque. This is the example of the peaceful coexistence of the Muslim and Orthodox population of modern Tatarstan and Russia.
The present day majestic stone cathedral was preceded by a small wooden church built by the order of Tsar Ivan the Terrible after the capture of Kazan by Russian troops in 1552.The Tsar himself chose the place for the future temple. The date of consecration of the cathedral is October 6, 1552 in honor of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For a long time, it was the centre of Christianity in the Volga region.
During its long history, the Cathedral of the Annunciation has gone through a great deal of ordeals: it was set on fire many times, a serious part of the complex and the values that were stored inside were destroyed. Cathedral has also undergone numerous repairs and three renovations. Probably the most difficult year, the holy temple experienced in Soviet times: when the Bolsheviks came into power in 1917, the cathedral lost its magnificence, it was seriously destroyed. Believers and priests managed to save only the relics of St. Guria and several icons, everything else was plundered. Unfortunately, most of the stored books, icons and utensils were gone forever.
In the 1930s, the cathedral housed an archive, thanks to which the ancient frescoes were well preserved. During the restoration of the 90s in the 20th century, the oldest fresco depiction of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God dating from the 17th century was discovered. The first attempts to restore the temple to its historical appearance were made in the second half of the 80s. And the main revival occurred after the collapse of the USSR.
In 2005, the largest-scale restoration of the Annunciation Cathedral was completed to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Kazan: the appearance of the cathedral, with the exception of the bell tower, has been practically fully recreated. Nowadays, the cathedral is open every day, the Divine services are held on the feast days.
The Cathedral of the Annunciation is a masterpiece of the ancient Russian architectural tradition of cross-domed churches. It is very similar to the Assumption Cathedral in Moscow. And the similarity is not accidental – architects wanted to unite the two capitals. It is believed that the Kazan Cathedral is an example of the Pskov architectural school. The temple was built from the limestone mined on the opposite, high bank of the Volga.
In addition to the cathedral, the Kazan Kremlin’s Orthodox complex includes the Bishop’s House, Consistory, as well as the ruins of ancient buildings that have survived to this day. On the sub-base of the Annunciation Cathedral is a Museum of the History of the Annunciation Cathedral, where visitors can get acquainted with the history of the Orthodox Church from the 16th century to the present days. The museum’s exposition includes Orthodox books of the 16th – 20th centuries, icons, the staff of the first archbishop, a model of a carriage donated by Empress Catherine II of Kazan in 1767 and much more.
For centuries, the main shrine of the Cathedral of the Annunciation was the relics of St Guria. He was the first bishop of the diocese of Kazan. In the middle of the 19th century, during the reconstruction, the cell of Sanctifier was found. It is a tiny room made of stone, in which the saint spent time in solitary heartfelt prayer. Soon, the rumor about finding a cell spread throughout the city, and pilgrims began to flock to the temple.
– Almost all Russian emperors, starting from Peter I, and many famous people, including Pushkin, Rachmaninov, Korolenko, Nemirovich-Danchenko, Chaliapin (the last one sang in the cathedral choir) visited the Cathedral of the Annunciation.
– Among the miraculously survived valuable book copies of the cathedral collection is the Ephraim Gospel, printed in Moscow in 1606 (now stored in the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan).
-The first cathedral, built in 1562, was almost half the size of the present.
-The bell tower, destroyed in 1928 was the largest bell of Kazan. The weight of the bell was 1,500 pounds (about 24570 kg).
How to get there
The Annunciation Cathedral is located in the territory of Kazan Kremlin Complex.
Nearest Bus Stops – «Central Stadium», «ul. Baturina»;
Metro Station – «Kremlevskaya»
It is an active temple. It is open daily to believers and tourists. Services in the Annunciation Cathedral are held on weekends and holidays.
You can learn more about the history of the Annunciation Cathedral, go inside and see its unique interiors on a sightseeing tour with a visit to the Kazan Kremlin Complex.
he sparkling gold domes of the Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral. It was the first Orthodox church within the walls of the Kazan Kremlin
genuine pearl in the architectural decoration of Kazan.
The main shrine of the cathedral is the relics of St Guria, who the first bishop of the diocese of Kazan