The town was built in 1551 on a promontory at the confluence of two Volga tributaries.
The decision to built it and the site was chosen in 1550 by Ivan the terrible after an unsuccessful
attempt to take Kazan. It was built as a fortress at a distance of a one-day march from Kazan.
The whole town and its fortifications were at first built in the forests around Uglich, some 800 km
away, by a work force of 75,000. It the spring of 1551 everything was taken apart, all the components
numbered, loaded on rafts, floated to the chosen location, and fully reassembled there in a record
time of four weeks, before the people in Kazan took notice.
Sviyazhsk became a permanent island in 1957 after the completion of the Togliatti dam. Only rather recently did Sviyazhsk get back the road access via a causeway to the left bank of the Sviyaga River.
(Click on each picture to open the full size photo.)
|The only surviving structure from those
brought here by rafts in 1551: the wooden Trinity Church:
original 1550 iconostasis, recently restored exterior to the original 16th century look: