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Mamadyshsky rayon


Administrative center: Mamadysh
Area: 2601.38 sq.km
Population: 44,400


Located at the confluence of the rivers Vyatka and Kama, Mamadysh is known for its intense natural beauty. Tatars, Russian, Mari and Udmurt people live here side by side as one family. The first settlers arrived here in the 1st millennium BCE. (!) The Old Mamadysh settlement was located on a promontory between the steep right bank of the Vyatka and the deep Khlyustov ravine, where traces of a fortified rampart and a moat still survive.

The rayon is located in the east of the Russian Plain and in the north-east of Tatarstan. Its natural boundary in the east is the River Vyatka, and in the west, the Kama, which makes the rayon’s position quite comfortable both in the economic and geographical sense.

... Early in the 12th century a Bolgar settlement appeared in the vicinity of Mamadysh. It is mentioned in the chronicles of the Kiev Rus as Ak Kirmen ("White Fortress") under the year 1151. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the fortified settlement known as Kermenchuk was the center of an independent principality which was a vassal of the Volga-Kama Bolgaria. The ruins of its ramparts can still be seen 18 kilometers away from the modern Mamadysh, near the village of Russky Kirmeni. Kermenchuk is also associated with the famous cemetery of the Khans, “Hannar Ziraty."

Old legends tell a lot about Mamadysh’s rich and ancient history. Historian Pyotr Znamensky wrote in his "Kazan Tatars" (1910), citing the medieval author Hisam-Al-Din: "The pochinok [newly emerged hamlet] of Mamadysh was founded on the wastelands on the right bank of the Oshma River at its confluence with the Vyatka. Its founder was the old man named Mamadysh, who had fled here after Bolgar was devastated by Tamerlane at the end of the 14th century." The name Mamdyash (Mamyash) was quite popular among the Bolgars. Historians claim that that the city was started in 1391 and it is thus more than 600 years old. Even in the middle ages the area was known for its natural beauty. Queen Soyembike liked to spend time here together with her husband - Khan Safa Giray.

Russian settlements started to appear in the lower reaches of the Kama and Vyatka in the second half of the 16th century.

Only one of them – the village of Omara – has survived in its original location. In late 18th century, Mamadysh welcomed the rebel army of Emelyan Pugachev. The local serfs met their “peasant tsar” with bread and salt (the Russian idiom for ‘roll out the red carpet’). All church bells were ringing, like on a great feast day. Over a short period of time, 5000 peasants of Mamadysh joined the rebel army. Even after Pugachev’s defeat by the walls of Kazan, the rebellious spirit still ruled in Mamadysh: up to August 1774, 2000 insurgents kept the settlement under their control.

In the 1780s Mamadysh started transforming into the center of crafts and trade. The navigable river helped the growth of trade and manufacture.

By the decree of Empress Catherine the Great dated September 28, 1781, the village of Mamadysh was elevated to the status of an uezd town in Kazan vicegerency, and since 1796, in the Kazan gubernia.

Since early 19th century, the first manufactures and industrial enterprises have been appearing in the town. In 1883, merchant Shcherbakov started the wine distillery in Mamadysh. Large-scale dealers bought grain at a cheap price from local peasants and small landowners and sent it down the Volga to Astrakhan, or upstream to Rybinsk. Every year, the Mamadysh port thus dispatched up to 450 thousand tons of grain. Mamadysh merchants also traded in timber and its products: sledges, horse-carts, bast, tar and resin. Other staples of the local trade were tallow, honey, wax, bristle and sheepskin.

The growth of industry increased and radicalized the local proletariat, which inherited its rebellious spirit from the times of Pugachev's army. The February and October Revolution received full support of the townspeople. December 12, 1917 marked the first day of the Soviet power in Mamadysh. In the summer of 1918 the uezd was rocked by fierce fighting in the Civil War. Czech soldiers and White Guards captured the city and took punitive action against the townspeople. On September 15, a local insurrection attempted to overthrow the “White Czechs”. Its heroes were buried on Puzanka Hill, known since then as the Hill of Heroes. Yet Mamadysh had long to wait for the return of the Soviet power – in mid-1919 the area was for a while occupied by the Kolchak troops...

After the consolidation of the new regime, in 1922 Mamadyshsky uezd was renamed a kanton, and in 1930 Mamadysh became a rayon center. During World War II, it became the destination for many enterprises and institutions evacuated from Central Russia: a cotton mill, an orphanage from the Moscow oblast, as well as some Leningrad schools. The area was revitalized by the construction of major petrochemical enterprises, a new metallurgical facility in Temirtau and the Abakan - Taishet railway line. The local distillery has eventually become an initiator of social change.

A lot has been done recently to improve the rayon’s environmental status. A construction boom has begun, spurred by flourishing business life. Most of the industrial enterprises are concentrated in the rayon center. Foodstuffs industry is represented by the procession of milk, meat, fish, and the production of flour, pasta, bread, alcohol and vodka. The largest construction company is Mamadyshsky Brickyard. The Mamadysh and Kama forestries provide timber for the local woodworks.

Mamadysh is the land which gave birth to a lot of talented and globally renowned scientists, writers and artists ... Vladimir Korolenko visited the town a few times to defend the peasants in the Multanovo court case (in 1892, a group of Udmurt peasants were charged with making a human sacrifice to their “pagan gods”).

Mikhail Evgrafovich Saltykov-Shchedrin stayed in Mamadysh for a while as an official on ad hoc missions, collecting a lot of material for his literary works in the way. Nikolai Figner, the lead singer at the famous Mariinsky Opera House, is a native of Nikiforovka. One of the best physiologists in Russia, Vasily Kibyakov, was born in the village of Shemorbash, and a prominent theorist of physics Kamil Ahmetovich Valeyev hails from the village of Verkhny Shandr.

The rayon is the birthplace of the poet Shaihi Mannur. The village of Malaya Sun’ is famous for its native, composer Farid Yarullin who wrote the score for the “Shurale” ballet.

Many residents of Mamadysh became war heroes. Sailor I.A. Kozyrev took part in the famous sea battle of Tsushima (1904) as a crewmember of the Varyag. He was one of the torpedo men of the legendary protected cruiser. For his heroism, Kozyrev was awarded a Cross of St. George and several medals. The destroyer Steregushchy was known to have repeated the heroic feat of the Varyag.

Among the first survivors of the destroyer’s crew was Alex Osinin, a native of the village of Gremyachka, who saved his ship’s flag of St. Andrew, preserving it intact throughout the years of being POW in Japan. His heroism was marked with a Cross of St. George, 4th Class. The Mamadysh town cemetery is the last repose of Gregory Yelchenko, a native of the nearby Yakovka, a Baltic sailor and Companion of the Cross of St. George who took part in the First World War, Russian Revolution and the Civil War. Four people born in the rayon became Heroes of the Soviet Union in the days of World War II: I.T. Maksimov, M.K. Moskvin, G.Ya. Nigmatullin and M.A. Prosvirnin. G.S. Smirnov has been awarded the title of the Hero of Russia. M.S. Auhadeyev is a Full Companion of the Order of Glory.

... Admiring the beauty of this area, Leo Tolstoy once wrote what has since become a popular phrase: "You won’t believe me of course, but I am sure I would rather live in Mamadysh than in Venice, Rome or Naples."