Administrative center: Almetyevsk
Area: 2500.2 sq.km
Almetyevsk is often referred to as Tatarstan’s oil capital. One can also say that all roads lead to Almetyevsk – the federal Kazan-Orenburg highway, the roads to Chistopol, Zainsk, Naberezhnye Chelny, Sarmanovo, Bugulma. It is here that another “road” begins – the famous Druzhba oil pipeline.
Everything in the city of Almetyevsk – its beautiful high-rise buildings, its spacious and well-maintained streets and public gardens – gives you a feeling of a special comfort and reveals respect and love residents have for their city. The lake in the city, with its clear and smooth mirror-like surface, elegant cascade of ponds and a dance pavilion located right on the river are the locals’ favorite places of walks and romantic dates. The city even has an Arbat of its own: on the 50th anniversary of Almetyevsk a part of Gagarin Street was turned into a pedestrian zone, where fragrant flower beds sit side by side with fountains and sculptures.
At Ploshchad Neftianikov (Oil Industry Workers Square) your eye will be amazed by two majestic silhouette towering over the neighborhood - a 65 m high mosque and a 57 m high church devoted to the Theotokos of Kazan. Together they embody the idea of unity and peaceful co-existence of different religions.
A lot of visitors from Tatarstan and neighboring regions come to have a look at these temples, which are among the largest in the Volga region. The city has its own art gallery, familiarly known to the locals as "the small Tretyakovka". The gallery was started on an idea by the local artist Gennady Stefanovsky. Thousands spend their free time at the numerous clubs of Neftche Palace of Culture. The Elmet Ethnic Culture Center is famous for its folk orchestra, chamber orchestra and academic chorus.
People of Almetyevsk do understand, appreciate and love sports. The Yubileyny Ice Hockey Palace keeps its doors open around the year, as well as the Neftyanik Stadium, where many games and competitions are held. A popular seasonal recreation is the Snezhinka (Snowflake) ski lodge and the Sputnik hockey court. A special pride of Almetyevsk are its beautiful swimming pools and three (!) racecourses.
Everyday life of a young and modern city gives you a picture of a powerful industrial center of south-eastern Tatarstan, with a population of more than 151,000. The future of the city is in the strong hands of oilmen, mechanical engineers, of metallurgists, gas processors and construction workers who love their city and do as much as they can to bring comfort to the residents of Almetyevsk.
This land is truly an amazing place.
Almetyevsky rayon is often called the black pearl of Tatarstan. A journey to the main oil-extracting area of the republic can leave you with a lot of vivid memories and powerful impressions. You are immediately attracted by the sight of the majestic slopes of the Bugulminsky-Belebey hills. Situated on the left bank of the picturesque river Zai, the rayon is crossed by more rivers: the Kichuy, Stepnoy Zai, Ulsalbash and their tributaries. Significant reserves of oil, gas, limestone and dolomite have long turned this area into a powerful industrial region.
Almetyevsk is still a very young city. What is 60 years to an industrial center? However, it was booming as far back as the Bolgar period. For more information on the wonderful transformation of the little-known Tatar village into a modern city, head to the local museum. It contains some unique exhibits, such as archaeological finds dating back to 16th and 15th centuries BCE, household items and decorative elements of Tatar huts. Near the village of Derbedei archaeologists have discovered bronze tools and fragments of pottery. Traces of settlements belonging to different cultures and eras have also been found near the villages of Upper Aktash, Zai-Chishma and Nizhnyaya Maktama.
Some villages in the Almetyevsky rayon were founded centuries ago, while others began as late as the 18th century. People fled here after the fall of the Bolgar state, and immigrants of later generations hid here from forced baptism.
Their amazing stories have survived to the present day.
The current administrative center - the city of Almetyevsk – was originally founded as the village of Almetyevo by a certain mullah Almuhammat who moved from what now is Sarmanovsky rayon to lush and resource-rich floodplains of the Zai. The name of the settlement is supposed to be a contraction of the first and fourth syllables of the mullah’s name - Al + mat (әl + mәt). According to the legends and historical research, mullah Almuhammat was an educated man and a direct descendant of the legendary Bolgar Khan Bikchura who tried to resist the invasion of Batu Khan and died of wounds received in the battle with the Mongols. Historical sources and archival materials confirm that Almetyevo was founded in 1740. The documents of the first Russian census, which took place in 1719, do not mention Almetyevo. In the second census of 1746, however, we find the following: "Almat mullah avyly (Almatovo village), 12 homesteads with about a hundred people of both sexes."
The history of the city is written by the fates of its famous people. Almetyevsky rayon has been the homeland of many famous educators and writers. The renowned Tatar poet and gold mine owner Dardmend traced his family tree to the village of Taysuganovo, where eight generations of his ancestors had lived after the fall of Bolgar. The same village gave birth to the hero of the national liberation movement, mullah, writer and educator Batyrsha.
The village of Kichuchatovo was founded by mullah Yuldash and his relatives. This has been proved in the chronicles written by his descendant - Tatar educator, philosopher, writer, historian, mufti, religious thinker and statesman of the late 19th century Rizaheddin Fahretdinov. Writer and journalist Fatih Karimi hails from the village of Minnibayevo. In 1955 poet and WWII veteran Edip Malikov and his wife, poet Sajida Suleymanova chose to make Almetyevsk their home. There they started a literary salon, which was known beyond the borders of Tatarstan.
The moment of truth came on June 25, 1943, when the first gusher hit from the depth of 1 648 meters at Oil Well No.1. The well was drilled by the team of G.Kh. Khamidullin near the village of Shugurovo.
On July 26, 1948 Oil Well No.3 drilled near the village of Novo-Timyashevo in Pismyansky (now Leninogorsky) rayon started gushing more than 120 tons per day. This happened at the season when white daisies were in bloom. Looking at oil wells surrounded by the sea of daisies, drillers decided to name the new field "Romashkino", from “romashka” – the Russian word for daisy. The first gusher of the new field started at the fields of Minnibayevo in 1950.
Today, Tatneft is among the leading oil companies in the world. It is the fourth largest oil producer in Russia, and the third in terms of proven oil reserves. Globally, Tatneft is the thirtieth-largest producer and eighteenth by the volume of reserves. Tatneft controls 94 oil sites and about 150 bitumen deposits. Finally, it is the only company that is currently working on the giant Romashkinskoye field.
In such a way history and modernity are intertwined in this ancient land...
NB The first suggestions of possible oil wealth in the region were made about three hundred years ago. The history of the first reconnaissance missions is linked to the names of Tatar businessman Nadir Urazmetov (mid-18th century), Western industrialists Sandor and Nobel, as well as Soviet geologists who were persistently drilling for oil.