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Syuyumbike tower — Fotopedia
Kazan. Kremlin, Syuyumbike tower

02/25/2007
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Söyembikä Tower

Söyembikä Tower (Tatar Cyrillic: Сөембикә манарасы, Latin: Söyembikä manarası; Russian: Ба́шня Сююмбикэ́), also called the Khan's Mosque, is probably the most familiar landmark and architectural symbol of Kazan. Once the highest structure of that city's kremlin, it used to be one of the so-called leaning towers. By the early 20th century, its inclination was estimated at 194 centimeters (76 in). Diverse stabilization methods were used to straighten the tower in the 1930s and 1990s.

The tower's construction date is enshrouded in mystery. Several scholars date its construction to the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, when the tiered towers were exceedingly popular in Russia, but others date the tower to the 16th century, probably before 1552.

A legend postulates that the tower was erected more than a century earlier by Ivan the Terrible's artisans in just a week's time. As the legend goes, the Kazan queen Söyembikä threw herself down from the highest tier, hence the name. This legend has nothing to do with the real history of the tower because Söyembikä was forcibly detained by Muscovite forces in 1551 and moved to the city of Kasimov and died years later (not to mention that suicide is an unpardonable sin according to the queen's Muslim faith). The legend was popular since the early 18th century.


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Söyembikä Tower Triangle