Administrative center: Staroye Drozhzhanoye
Area: 1029.50 sq.km
The topography of the area is flat, so it is even more surprising that this rayon can boast the highest point of the Volga Uplands in Tatarstan. The height of the hill at the confluence of the rivers Sviyaga and Sura is 261 meters above the sea level.
The name of area is usually associated with pastry and dough — after all, the Russian word 'drozhzhi' means 'yeast'. They also say crops here get ripe as fast as the dough rises. This land has many agricultural legends. One of them tells of three men: Alkai, Almakai and Salmakai. They had long been travelling in search of a rich and fertile land, until they found a spring and decided to rest beside it. One of them had a drink from the stream and noticed that the water has sour taste and the land, like the yeast dough, is soft and fluffy. Travelers decided to stay here and founded the first settlement in the area.
Residents of Staroye Drozhzhanoe have their own version of the foundation legend. They say the soil here used to be very swampy: it rose and fell, like dough. And this is how their village (literally, Old Yeast) have got its name. The ancestors of local Mishar, Chuvash and Russian population, of course, could not have known that the “fermentation” of soil is due to shale deposits.
The area of the Drozhzhanovsky rayon has been inhabited since the early Bolgar period. This has been proved by the archaeological excavations of the ancient settlements on the river Tsilna. Various tribal and ethnic groups have passed through these lands.
Prior to the invasion of Turkic tribes, the area was populated by the Finno-Ugrians. The advent of Turkic-speaking Suvar and Bolgar tribes led to major changes in the local ethnic situation in 7th — 8th centuries.
After the city of Simbirsk was founded in 1648 and the Simbirsk fortified line had been built, these lands finally became safe from the nomadic raids by Nogai Tatars. It was then that the first settlers appeared — the Chuvash and Mishar Tatars. Lands have been allocated to servitor farmers and later to lashmans in the Dikoye Pole (Wild Lands) to set up a defense line on the very border of the then Russian state.
The cream of the local aristocracy were the emirs and beks, the local lords who controlled the militia. The next most numerous group were the mirzas, or nobility. Their presence is visible now in such village names as Shaimorza (Shah Mirza) or Bimorza.
Under Catherine the Great, Drozhzhanoye becomes a volost’ center. Local residents were farmers, who earned their living by tilling the lands and transporting goods, sometimes at a considerable distance. In the pre-revolutionary period, capitalist development forced many villagers out. Many of them moved to the cities. Due to the lack of fodder, cattle had to be raised in small numbers, barely enough for the needs of the local economy and the family.
By the start of the 20th century, Staroye Drozhzhanoye had only about 300 households. Prior to 1920, the territory of modern Drozhzhanovsky rayon was a part of Simbirsk gubernia.
Today Drozhzhanovsky rayon is one of the municipal districts of the Republic of Tatarstan and can be proud of its well-developed agro-industrial complex and extensive public infrastructure. The rayon has a solid system of educational institutions and healthcare. People of different nationalities, cultures and traditions live here side by side in peace and harmony.
Over the years, natives of Drozhzhanoye have added many a glorious page to the annals of their rayon. They have filled their land with warmth, comfort and joy. People of Drozhzhanoye are of different ages, nationalities, beliefs, and endowed with various talents. But there is one thing which unites them all — their love for the native land. They make bread, build houses, teach children, develop arts and culture or build a career in sports. They are known for their hard work and kindness, patience and endurance. Only because of people who live in the rayon a steady and sustainable development has become possible.
Drozhzhanoye is rich in talents. The rayon is proud of its natives who made a great contribution to the development of culture, science, art and literature of Tatarstan and Russia. The ancestors of the founder of Tatar secular poetry Gabduljabbar Kandalyya came from the village of Nizhniye Karakityany. The village of Staryye Chukaly was the birthplace of the great Tatar educator Shihabutdin Marjani’s mother. Historian and educator teacher Hadi Atlasi was born in the village of Nizhneye Chekurskoye, the famous educator Shihab Ahmerov grew up in the village of Novaya Zadorovka. Among other famous people born in the area are the classics of the Tatar literature Sharaf Mudarris, Zaki Nouri, Shamil Rakipov, Kyyam Minnibayev and Robert Rakipov, whose works are very popular both locally and regionally.
Drozhzhanovsky rayon also gave birth to a number of renowned administrators and businessmen:
Mirgarifza Azizov, President of the Council of Ministers of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (1950-1957); Sayfihan Nafiyev, former regional Attorney-General and Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Tatarstan; Ekzam Gubaidullin, member of the Upper House of the Federal Assembly, Russian Federation; Albert Shigabutdinov, CEO of Taif, Tatarstan’s largest company, and others. Many natives of the rayon received awards and honors in various branches of economy of Russia and Tatarstan.
Drozhzhanoye was the childhood home of many artists and singers, such as People's Artist of Russia and Tatarstan Rinat Tazetdinov, Hidayat Sultanov, People's Artist of Russia and Tatarstan Alsou Gaynullina. Tatar popular art owns a lot to People’s Artists of Tatarstan Gabdulla Rahimkullov, Rafael Ilyasov, Rafik Tazetdinov, Honored Artist of the Republic of Tatarstan Ilsur Safin (IlSaf). Also born here were two famous playwrights — Nikolai Yefremov (in Staroye Ilmovo) and Anatoly Chebanov (Novyye Shigali).
The rayon is also known for its natives who made a contribution to sciences and the humanities — mathematician Pavel Mironov, fellows of the Russian Academy of Science Rouhanil Gafurov, Irek Fahrutdinov and Renat Zhdanov.
People of Drozhzhanoye are proud of their war heroes: Zarif Alimov, Semyon Uganin, Nurulla Fazlayev, Ismagil Khakimov, Pyotr Yuhvitov, Holders of the Order of Glory of all classes Ziatdin Arslanov and Grigory Semenov. Wars of the later years brought glory to the name of the Hero of Russia Gazinur Khairullin.
Professional successes of many Drozhzhanoye natives were rewarded with the title of Heroes of Socialist Labor. Among them are Lazar Dergunov, Ahmetgarey Abdreyev, Usman Aliyev, Abdullah Sabirzyanov, Alexander Mokshin, Sergey Nemasev, Ravil Nizamutdinov and Peter Dementyev (twice Hero of Socialist Labor, Minister of Aviation Industry of the USSR) .
As years go by, villages of the rayon become more beautiful and modern. New schools and hospitals are built, infrastructural development continues. But as it has always been, Drozhzhanoye remains Tatarstan’s breadbasket, providing grain, legumes, sugar beet, meat and milk to the people of the region. All major enterprises of the rayon are also focused on the development of the agricultural sector.