The old uyezd (district) town of Chistopol is one of a kind! All architectural landmarks here are located in the two main streets. At the same time, geographically it is in the very center of Tatarstan. The distance from Chistopol to Kazan is 144 kilometers, with 141 km to Naberezhnye Chelny, 586 km to Orenburg and 107 km to Begishevo international airport. The town’s area is 19.24 square kilometers and its population is 60.7 thousand people.
Chistopol is a town of secrets. Even its native citizens discover something new every day while walking along quiet paved streets of a provincial Russian town. Merchant houses with extraordinary lanterns and chiseled balconies create a special atmosphere.
One of the town’s main landmarks is the Melnikov House, with an art gallery and a children’s library. In an old mansion which used to belong to merchant A.A. Poduruyev is the permanent exhibition of the Uyezd Town Museum. 2 wooden bicycles invented by a local craftsman are considered to be the Museum’s gems.
Chistopol is a town associated with famous literary figures who lived here during World War II. For instance, it was here, in a nice small town right in the middle of Tatarstan, that the Nobel Prize winner Boris Pasternak began writing his novel “Doctor Zhivago”.
The real embellishment of the town, its ‘crown jewel’ is the Nikolsky Cathedral – its construction was financed by Polyakov merchant family and done by architect Pyatnitsky in 1838. Another Chistopol’s sight, the Skaryatinsky garden, founded in 1867 at the expense of some local merchants, will make your heart soar. And by the way, the garden has been recently remodeled. Finally, in the vicinity of Chistopol there are the remains of a Golden Horde city of Juketau (10th – 15th centuries).
If you want to buy a classy, memorable souvenir in Chistopol, try searching for the Komandirskiye watch of the Vostok factory. And, while you’re at it, you can visit several restaurants, coffee shops and bars to feel the atmosphere of the town from the inside.
The first mentions of the Chistoye Pole (‘Open Field’) village appear in the history chronicles in the late 17th – early 18th centuries. There is a theory that the first settlers here were either escaped surfs or schismatics who founded a free settlement which was burnt down, and then what was left from it was an open field. The village was revived and received its name in honor of what was left after the great fire. In 1761 on the orders of Empress Catherine II the village was given the status of an uyezd (district) town of Chistopol. By the late 19th – early 20th centuries Chistopol became a major merchant town and a center of corn trade. During the Great Patriotic War the town gave shelter to more than 200 members of the Union of Soviet Writers. In 2014 the Chistopol State History, Architecture and Literature Preserve Museum was founded.
By bus: Take the Kazan – Chistopol bus from the Tsentralny (Central) bus terminal. The travel time is 2.5 – 3 hours. You can also get to Chistopol by ship down the Kama River.