Administrative center: Apastovo
Area: 1047.5 sq.km
There are places where poets and musicians are born more frequently than in others, as if the local nature whispers the beautiful rhymes and rhythms into their ears, and they only have to be heard and put down. Apastovsky rayon is definitely one of such places.
Apastovsky rayon is located in the south-west of the Republic of Tatarstan, bordering on Buinsky, Tetyushsky, Kamsko-Ustyinsky, Verkhneuslonsky, Kaybitsky rayons and the Chuvash Republic. It was formed in August 1930. The river Sviyaga flows through the rayon, as well as the Gorky Railway with three stations: Sem’ Kluchey, Karatun and Kildurazy.
The administrative center, Apastovo, has been known since 1647, originally as Maloye Yenaleyevo. The modern name of the village, according to the legend, comes from a settler Gabbas, whose name gradually transformed into "Abbas" and then "Apas". In the 18th and early 19th centuries, villagers were state-owned serfs engaged in agriculture and cattle-breeding. At the beginning of the 20th century the village had 2 mosques, a watermill and 3 windmills, 2 forges, a creamery, 2 peeling mills and 2 retail stores.
The topography of the area was fully shaped by the Sviyaga riverbed, with many steep ravines on its right bank. Ravines and rolling hills have given a name to the whole region of Tatarstan on the right bank of the Volga River, known as the Hillside.
Several hills, such as Karaulnaya (Sentry Hill) and Islam-gora, come close to a real mountain in their height. Not far away is the famous landscape park Gran Tau, which is actually a forest on the right slope of the Ulema river valley, with adjacent meadows and steppes full of rare plant species. These places are very popular with both locals and tourists and made famous in a lot of legends and stories.
The name “Sviyaga”, according to one version, comes from the Turkic "si" or "su" - "water" and “aga" - "flow", together meaning "flowing water." As another version has it, in 14th century Russian dialects “Sviyaga" could mean "wild duck". This may be a cognate of such words as “svit’”, “vit’sya” (twist, curl). Hence the word for one of the duck species – “sviyaz’” (wigeon).
"If on a holiday you want to take a trip out, go to the river, and you’ll never regret it. A lovely river, peaceful and quiet, with clear water and clean banks – what else does a human need? " Thus people of Apastovo speak of their favorite river. And those not deprived of the poetic gift express the same feelings in verse:
Here it is, Sviyaga’s bend.
The dark furrow of fish underwater.
Some only see willows and driftwood,
But for me this is a favorite place.
Melodic lilting of the river surf is what people of Apastovo hear from birth. It gives them musicality and an acute sense of beauty. It is not surprising that many singers and composers, well-known in Tatarstan and outside it, were born here.
The Tutayevo village is proud of its native Sara Sadykova - composer, opera singer, winner of the Tuqay Prize of the Republic of Tatarstan, Honored Artist of RSFSR. The singer herself started the museum at her home village, and donated many of her personal possessions: a piano, concert dresses, a touring trunk, photographs, posters and books. Many of them were quite expensive, e.g. the Uzbek carpet presented to Sara in 1939 in Tashkent, her old gramophone and 1930s’ vinyl records with songs performed or written by Sara, as well as 10 audio cassettes with melodies to famous poets, performance music and instrumental works written between 1967 and 1987.
The village Shambulyhchi has another interesting museum, whose exhibits tell us the story of life and work of Fahri Nasretdinov and Banu Valiyeva.
Fahri Nasretdinov, a lyrical tenor, began his career at the Moscow Mobile Tatar Theater. Since 1938 he was a soloist of the Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (Kazan Opera House). People's Artist of Tatarstan and the Russian Federation, laureate of the Tuqay Prize of Tatarstan, he was awarded two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor and seven medals.
Banu Valiyeva was a soloist of the Bashkir State Opera and Ballet Theatre, People's Artist of the RSFSR and BASSR and a professor. She was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and six medals. The tour guides will not only tell you not Fahri’s and Banu’s stories, but also invite you to the music room to take part in a concert or some other event.
In the center of Apastovo a memorial composition was erected in honor of the 65th anniversary of the Victory in the Second World War.
Its plinths bear the inscriptions with 11,000 names of Apastovo inhabitants who fought on the battlefields of the World War.
Busts of the six Heroes of the Soviet Union, who were natives of the area, are placed on special pedestals. Two of the walls are devoted to the heroes of Afghanistan and Chechen wars. At the center of the complex the Eternal Flame burns near the statue of Defender of the Motherland. An anchor displayed nearby is a gift of the North Sea Fleet. Apastovsky rayon is a patron of the military unit No. 40608, and the memorial is a symbol of the continuity between defenders past and present.
The memorial facility was truly a common cause: it was built jointly by many organizations and businesses, with participation from schools and residents of Apastovo.
It is not only military heroism that people of Apastovo have chosen as their symbol. In 2000, a monument to the mother - the keeper of the family hearth was unveiled in the village. Its author was Fagim Faskhetdinov, Honored Artist, a member of the Artists' Union of Tatarstan, and a native of Apastovsky rayon.
In 2007, the names of women who have made a worthy contribution to the development of the rayon were inscribed on the monument. Since then, it has become a tradition for the newlyweds to come here on their wedding day and bring flowers to adorn the monument. Mother days and poetry festivals are celebrated here. Everyone who comes to the monument does so to think of their mothers and express their undying gratitude to those who gave them life.
Thus life goes on in Apastovo, in enjoying the beauty of the nature, in honor and respect for the memories of those who has stood through the harsh tests of time, and in selfless work for the prosperity of their rayon and the Republic of Tatarstan.