Speed throughout the mighty Volga on a speed boat and succumb to the beauty of Sviyazhsk on your 4 hours boat and walking tour of the Sviyazhsk Island from Kazan by Russian Travel Agency, Pradiz, one of the best Tatarstan and Kazan tours.
Just a 30km’s speed boat’s ride away, Sviyazhsk is an island settlement that was built by the Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible for the conquest of Kazan at the confluence of the Sviyaga and the Volga. Apart from tranquil ambiance, beautiful Old Russian architecture, it is a reminder of the region’s tumultuous history.
On your tour you will be able to take in the scenic vistas of the Volga, zip through its vast sea-like expanses on a speedy boat, visit the island’s architecturally and culturally significant locales. On the program are the region’s main landmarks such as UNESCO-protected functioning Uspensky monastery, or the island’s museums, an optional tour of which can be arranged. Immerse into the colorful routine of the time when Russia started its territorial expansion eastwards and has undergone a transformation from what was largely a relatively small tsardom into a multi-national empire.
The tour needs to be booked 2 days in advance; note that the boat ride can be windy and chilly so take along some warm clothes. The total duration of the tour is about 4 hours (the boat ride is 30 minutes one way).
The navigation is usually open in May-November. The standard option presupposes the use of hydrofoil. If travelling outside navigation period (or in case of bad weather) please book an optional extra – tour by private transport.
- Uspensky Monastery
- Kazan and the surroundings
- Lenivy Torzhok
- The Stables
- The island’s museums (optional)
- The trip along the Volga to and from the island
- The Svyaga River
Feast your eyes on the beauteous panoramas of the Volga shores, and the seemingly boundless surface of the great river, from the deck of a comfy speed-boat. River breeze blowing into your face, swathes of the Tatar flat grasslands stretching before you, the landscape appears Central Asian, until.., you spot a settlement on a lonesome island appearing in sight; its squatty and puny churches with slender belfries and bulging domes looming over it.
One of the most important religious sites is Uspensky Monastery. Apart from visiting Uspensky Monastery, a UNESCO heritage site, to see the life of the Russian monks, marvel at Uspensky Monastery’s eye-pleasing, but somewhat ascetic, exterior, with somewhat somber black domes and impeccably white walls.
After the tour of the imposing monastery, head over to the other sites, Lenivy Torzhok and the Stables. Here you can see what life was like after the founding of the town by Ivan the Terrible as a base to seize Kazan and vanquish the Khanate’s army. Here you can dress up as Ivan the Terrible, see the armor of the warriors of the day, buy souvenirs from local craftsmen; shoot a crossbow, and drink tea from a samovar with oladushki, thick pancakes adored by the Russians. Sense the old Russia in the middle of the ferocious currents of the Russian Central Asia’s main river.
What comes next is a speedy boat trip to Kazan. Look around and cast a parting glance on the island and the town majestically looming on the horizon. What awaits you is the breath-snatching vistas of the high banks of the Volga with grasslands spreading far-away. Speeding through the agitated waters of the Volga feel one-on-one with one of the Earth’s greatest rivers, a waterway that long ago linked the civilizations of the East, such as the Persian Empire with the fur-and-precious metals rich demesnes of the North. Upon arrival in Kazan you can note the stark contrast between traditionally Russian Sviyazhsk and multi-cultural Kazan, known as the Istanbul of the Steppes.
The Sviyazhsk island visit is one of the most in-demand things to do in Kazan, and in the Volga region. The main ingredient of the tour is the sense of tranquility and peace that this remarkable place, a bastion of the Russian culture in the steppes, has been bestowing upon its guests. What is more the surrounding views amaze. The high banks of the river are dotted with sparsely populated settlements; looking there you can sense the wild steppe extending far beyond the horizon towards the far-off Tian-Shan Mountains.
As tips for independent travellers, this tour by Russian Tour Operator Pradiz, can be made only during the months when the weather makes navigation over the river possible. These months are usually May-early November; the boarding to the boat is at Rechnoy Port Kazan on Ulitsa Devyataeva. To get to the port you should take buses number 1,6, 53, 54 from centre-located Ploschad Tukaya or take a 40 minutes walk.
Note that the group meets at Rechnoy Port at 8.10, a transfer to the meeting point can be arranged in advance. The boat’s departure time is 8.30.
In winter the Volga is covered with ice, so to reach Sviazhsk you have should use other ways of getting there. In winter and severe weather conditions Pradiz arranges for a car-ride to Sviyazhsk, so our tour is available throughout the year. For more info, expert assistance, customized or standard multiday tour in Russia, contact Russian Tour Operator Pradiz or a local Kazan travel agency.