The history of Kazan city is as complex as a Tatar ornament, an interlacing of Russian and Tatar influences, and not black and white. Kazan city remembers the Novokreshchensky from which came the orders to demolish the mosques and which, before its closure in 1764, by direct physical force and severe spiritual and political pressure compelled the Kazan Tatars to be baptised.
But it also remembers that when Peter I visited the ruins of Great Bolgar in 1722, he ordered them to be preserved as historical monuments. The famous Kazan State University, founded in 1804, was a Russian educational establishment, but eve-there, in 1869, a programme was set up to study ancient Tatar culture and assemble collections of books, coins, embroidery and ornament, gold and silver work, and objects used in everyday Tatar life.
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