On a high coast of the Volga River there is a town of Tetyushi – one of the oldest in Tatarstan. The place is unique: it has a special spirit of the times, a rich collection of museums and its own distinct style! The distance from Tetyushi to the city of Ulyanovsk is 90 km, with 140 km to Kazan and 220 km to Cheboksary. The town’s area is 7.3 sq. km, its population is 11.4 thousand people.
The old merchant buildings in this small cozy town are in excellent condition: these include grammar schools for young men (1914) and ladies (1906) and the house of a zemsky (county) doctor Aleksandr Nikolayevich Bogolyubov.
The Museum of History of the Tetyushi Area is located in merchant Serebryakov’s house and lovers of the ‘classic tourism’ will find it very interesting. On the whole, a special place among all the historic architectural landmarks belongs to the town’s first stone building, the Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral (1773), destroyed during the Soviet years and rebuilt in 1990.
Tetyushi has its distinctively own pieces of architecture as well. For example, a wooden staircase – the longest and steepest on the Volga. It stretches from the quay to the town and its length is about 400 steps. Only in Tetyushi you can find a gigantic statue of… a beluga (European sturgeon)! And there is a good reason for that. The thing is, the town’s life is closely associated with the Volga and fishery. The Town Day and the Fisherman’s Day are celebrated together at once, attracting a lot of tourists. And by the way this giant beluga existed in real life. In 1921 it was caught nearby Tetyushi by local fishermen. This wonder-fish was 960 kilograms in weight, 5 meters in length, and its stomach, like some sort of a sack, was filled to the brim with lobsters, sterlets and burbots. It had 16 poods (approximately 256 kg) of caviar!
At a distance of 13 kilometers from the town there is a Dolgaya Polyana estate complex, which in the past used to belong to the Count Molostov’s family. The estate includes an observation deck, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view to the Kuybyshev Reservoir and the ancient city of Bolghar. Polyana (the meadow) is believed to be a mystical area full of anomalies... Incredible things happen there: in spite of being surrounded by a thick forest it hasn’t been overgrown for centuries, magnetic devices here often read off scale, clock rates go out of order, images mysteriously disappear from digital cameras. But this somehow does not affect people! On the contrary, people who get here experience their blood pressure suddenly getting balanced, their heart settling down, their wounds healing faster and minor illnesses like catching cold going away.
Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy a walk in the Schuchyi mountains with their untrodden paths, rare wild animals and the Labay Lake. Every summer the Vshikha Mountain becomes the place of gathering for lovers of role-playing games who reenact historic events. A watchtower has been built here for the sake of atmosphere, and during the historical reenactments an archery range is open, where visitors can practice shooting from bows and crossbows and learn about the ancient History of the town.
Officially the history of Tetyushi began in 1578 when after the fall of Kazan Khanate Russian war leaders founded a fortification here to defend the area surrounding the Volga. But a settlement existed long before that. It held a strategically important defensive position on the right bank of the Volga. Remains of the fortification have been preserved until now. In due time the settlement lost its significance, turning into a provincial place. In 1781 Tetyushi was granted the status of a town and included in Kazan Governorate, and in 1802 it became its uyezd (district) town.
By bus: Kazan – Tetyushi from the Tsentralny bus terminal. The travel time is 2.5 – 3.5 hours. But the best way of traveling to Tetyushi is probably by a cruise ship down the Volga.