Kazan: Deep Culture of the Modern City

Continuing their stay in the capital of Tatarstan – Kazan, the team of the Association of Private Museums of Russia visited the City Panorama Museum. This museum reflects the deep culture of Kazan, reveals both the history of the city and its present. With the help of the latest technologies used to create a museum of a new format, visitors can see the capital of Tatarstan in the past and, of course, compare with Kazan in the present.

Three huge architectural models, which are nothing but a three-dimensional display of the whole city on a small scale, show the capital of Tatarstan as it was in the 16th and 18th centuries, as well as the new Kazan of the 21st century with its preserved cultural and architectural traditions. They still represent the decoration and historical pride of the Tatarstan capital. With the help of voluminous video projections, the pages of Tatar history literally come to life.

“In 2015, there was just a piece of land with a half-ruined building; even then it was clear that the city lacks a tourist attraction, where historical information about the city, presented in its modern form, would be collected in one place. There are such objects all over the world. We studied a lot and went to Shanghai. A large team of leading scientists, Tatarstan historians worked on the idea. One of the companies of Tula model workshops took part in the production of models of the historical plan. It is known that Tula people have long been famous for their love of miniaturization,” said Mikhail Vishin, a representative of the museum founder, first deputy director of the House of Press on Bauman LLC.

The museum is distributed in four floors. The circular video panorama hall tells the legend about the dragon Zilant, a mythological creature from Tatar legends and fairy tales. He was also depicted on the seal of Ivan the Terrible, and is now on the coat of arms and flag of Kazan.

The historical video broadcast about how Kazan has changed over the past 100 years is based on archival newsreels and old photographs. The Historical Hall of the Old Tatar Sloboda tells about how people lived in the late 19th – early 20th centuries. There is also a cafe built in the form of a tram, behind the windows of which is the living history of the city of the last century.

In order to feel the spirit of the city, a video is broadcast on the video wall in the lobby of the building. This is a presentation of the city for the guests of Panorama, which shows one day in the life of the capital of Tatarstan. It begins in the morning and ends in the evening. The video series introduces the sights of Kazan; it also contains separate scenes with elements of folk festivities.

In a conversation with the director of the museum, Olga Valeeva, our correspondent asked how difficult it is to manage a team in such a large building and how it is possible to cope with difficulties if they arise in the course of work.

– We have a very good team; we teamed up even before the opening of our museum. It is easy to work with such a team. Of course, there are difficulties, as in any other organization, but we are coping with them. We have not seen our visitors for two months, and they did not see our exposition, but after this period we happily opened and, by the way, during post-quarantine months we only had sold-out visits, these were our record-breaking months in terms of attendance.

– Who are your main visitors?

– People of completely different age come to visit. In the first years after opening there were mainly schoolchildren, now we see that people of any age come to us from all regions.

At the moment, the Association of Private Museums of Russia is making an expedition to the cities of Russia, its goal is to unite the owners of private museums, find new museums, and open up new horizons for cooperation. The expedition is headed by Alexey Shaburov.

In September, the team of the Association visited private museums in the Novgorod and Leningrad regions, as well as the city of St. Petersburg.