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Kaibitsky rayon

Tatarstan1 Kaibic

Administrative center: Bolshiye Kaibitsy
Area: 995.4 sq.km
Population: 14,700


Kaibitsky area is the land of forestry and beekeeping, known for its oak groves. They were valued a lot since the days of old, and in the 18th century oak timber was sent along the Sviyaga and Volga to construct the nascent Russian Navy. It is thus no coincidence that the oak appears on the rayon’s coat of arms and its flag.

Kaibitsky rayon is located in the hilly western part of the Republic of Tatarstan, bordering on the Chuvash Republic, Apastovsky, Verkhneuslonsky and Zelenodolsky crayons. The rivers Kubnya, Sviyaga and Berlya flow through its lands, and in the east, it is crossed by the Sviyazhsk — Ulyanovsk railroad.

Both Bolgar and Golden Horde civilizations have left many traces here, which have, unfortunately, been little researched as yet.

The original settlement on the site of the modern Bolshiye Kaibitsy, the rayon’s administrative center, is known to have existed since the period of the Kazan khanate, as indicated by a number of epigraphic sources. Written sources date the village of Oly Kaibych back to the 1600s, some years after the decree of Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich authorized granting some of the local land to settlers in 1595.

The origin of the name Kaibitsy (Kaibych) is unclear. One of the available theories derives it from the personal name Haibuch, and others from words like "kap" ("sack") or "kachyk" ("distance", "far away"). There is a theory linking the name of the village to the abundance of forests in the rayon. Dense woods in past centuries were the area for all peoples of the Volga region to practice wild-hive beekeeping (bortnichestvo). In that kind of apiculture, the widely known word “kabitsa” referred to a part of the wood with a certain number of wildhives. This word is believed to have given rise to the later “Kaibitsy”.

The local villages were well known for their home crafts, e.g. Burunduki (literally, Chipmunks) since the 1890s has been developing a dyeing business, where rustic fabric and yarn were dyed blue and red. Maloye Podberezye, Ulyankovo, Bolshoye Podberezye and Kornoukhovo were known for their sacks and bast mats. Russkoye Ebalakovo specialized on cooperage, and Bolshoye Rusakovo, on carpentry and cart-making. Kushmany were famous for brickmaking, and Berlibashi, for its pottery.

The presence of mixed forests, where oaks and limetrees grew side by side with pines and spruces, suggested silviculture as a potential benefit for the rayon. Thus, the Kaibitsky shelterwood system was established in 1931, at present comprising Baltayevskoe, Kugeyevskoe, Berlibashskoe and Rusakovskoye forestries. Their main objective is to preserve and restore the flora of Tatarstan, protecting woodland resources from extinction. Their dense woods that stretch for many miles are home to rare animal and bird species included into the Red Book. A number of plants have also made their way onto the list.

Another important landmark of nature in the rayon are the Kaibitsky oak groves, which are the remnants of natural woods and act as a genetic reserve of the oak, and the Turminskaya Dacha forest stand. The Federal Research and Production Project "Dubravy Rossii” (Russia’s Oakwoods) has been launched to preserve these natural riches, at the total cost of RUB 500 million.

Kaibitsy is not only important as a natural reserve. Some of the most important events in Russia’s history have not bypassed this land. In the 17th and 18th centuries, several major battles between rebel armies and government troops took place by the village of Burunduki.

The place where many soldiers were killed in these battles was known as Tup Asty, or “The Cannon Place”. The village itself has another interesting monument — a mosque constructed in 1895 by a 1st guild merchant A. Khusainov of Orenburg. The mosque was renovated in 1991.

Burunduki and other large villages, such as Chuteyevo, were known as educational centers, with a lot of studying and teaching going on in the madrassas. It is there that the Tatar writer Zarif Bashir studied under the direction of his father. Bashir is the author of many poems, some of which have become folk song lyrics.

Chuteyevo is known far beyond the borders of the region as the home for the “merry men” of Shakur Rakhimov (or Shakur-Karak), the "Tatar Robin Hood". This legendary elusive protector of the poor took the grain, flour, and sometimes horses from the rich to help the poor in lean years. Shakur Karak’s audacity and cunning put fear in the hearts of law enforcers and gave hope to the poorest village residents.

Another local place of interest is the village of Hozesanovo. Its cemetery is known for the grave of Huja Hasan which has long been revered as the last abode of a holy man. Huja Hasan, a cult figure among the peoples of the Volga and Urals, is mentioned in the Bolgar epic "Shan kyzy dastany" (The Tale of Shan’s Daughter) written in the 9th century by the Bolgar poet Mikail Bashtu ibn Shams Tabir.

The village of Turminskoye, founded in the days of the Kazan Khanate, has preserved Trinity Church with its painted murals, a monument of 19th century architecture. In Soviet times, the building was used as a granary, and the church service was resumed only in late 1996.

A wooden house built in 1872 as a zemstvo-run school now houses two educational institutions: the local kindergarten and an elementary school. The school doors open right into the dense Barsky forest. Some of the mighty spruces and pines there are more than a century old.

Turminskoye marks the territory where Kryashens (Orthodox Tatars) live compactly. The village, like its neighbor Chistyye Kluchi, is also famous for its fresh water springs, which attract people from the most remote rayons of Tatarstan and the Republic of Chuvashia who look for physical and spiritual healing. Despite the numerous attempts to dry up the spring in the Soviet period, it has every time found a new outlet and still helps cure people today.

The name of the prominent Tatar opera singer Galia Kaibitskaya has been written down in golden letters in the history of the rayon. She was born in the town of Uralsk to the family of a prominent religious figure Mutygulla Hazrat Tuhvatullin. Mutygulla Hazrat loved music and instilled his love in the hearts of his children, five of whom later became musicians. Among them was Kamil Mutygi, a famous journalist and singer, a friend of Gabdulla Tuqay.

At the recommendation of her brother Adham (also an actor), Galiya took the stage name Kaibitskaya to honor Malye Kaibitsy, the home village of her ancestor. A true woman of art, Galiya Kaibitskaya contributed a lot to the development of Tatar musical theater and became one of the brightest stars of the Kazan drama and opera. Galia Kaibitskaya often visited Bolshiye and Malye Kaibitsy, the homeland of her ancestors.

On the eve of her birthday in 1976, she met her fellow countrymen and had a talk with people who knew and remembered her father.

The Galiya Kaibitskaya Museum was opened in the village of Bolshiye Kaibitsy in 1998. One of the rooms at the museum recreates the interior of the Kaibitskys’ house. The children of the first woman to be named the People's Artist of Tatarstan donated to the museum her memoirs, which she had been working on from 1962 to 1991, as well as some of her sheet music, costumes, books and personal items. The museum’s music room is used as a venue for cultural and educational events.

Kaibitsky rayon has one of the largest fisheries in Tatarstan. The artificial lakes of the Kulanginsky Fishery produce up to 120 tons of fish per year. Most of the fish is let into the Kuibyshev reservoir to replenish the decreasing fish populations in the Volga, while some is sold across the region. Since 1974, it has been breeding many species of the carp family, such as Chinese, silver and European carp.

Large agricultural companies of the rayon specialize in crop and livestock production, increasing performance each year with the help of improved production and human resources. Residents of the Kaibitsky rayon strive to strengthen the economy of the agricultural rayon in order to improve the well-being of each family.