Kazan State University was established in 1804 and for many years remained Russia's easternmost establishment of higher education. Kazan University scholars have made a great contribution in the development of natural sciences as well as the humanities. The names of the outstanding Tatar scholars of the past who represented its schools of geography and ethnography include Kh.Fayezkhanov, I. Khalfin and K. Nasyri. Researchers who brought fame to Kazan University in the post-Second World War years were E. Zavoisky (physics), A. Arbuzov and G. Kamai (chemistry), N. Chetaev (engineering) and N. Chebotarev (mathematics). Among the notable figures who studied at Kazan University were writers Leo Tolstoy, S. Aksakov and A. Melnikov-Pechersky, composer Balakirev, and politician V. Lenin. Today the University is continuing its important work in education and research.
The oldest building of the University, with three classical portals along its white facade, was built in 1822 and included the old building of the First Boys' Gymnasium and the private residence of Prince Tenichev given to the University at the time of its founding. Between 1832 and 1841, under the supervision of the architect M. Korinfsky, the rest of the buildings of the university campus were constructed. The new buildings, which included the Anatomy Theatre, the Library, the Chemistry and Physics Laboratories and the Observatory, completed the University complex and gave it its neo-classical look. The building of the Chemistry Faculty was constructed in 1954 by the students themselves.
Kazan University Library has one of the world's most important bibliographical collectons, containing 15,000 manuscripts and more than 3,000 rare books. It was set up in 1809 and originally consisted of the collection of books of Count G. Potemkin, brought to Kazan in 1799, and also large collections of some of the earliest bibliophiles, V. Polyansky and N. Bulich. To these were later added the unique collections of old books and manuscripts of the Solovetsky Monastery. The most valuable books and manuscripts are kept in the special depository of the Library. These include Arabic manuscripts of philosophers and scholars Kholladzha ibn Mansur and Avicenna (11-th century) and Ashshakhrestani (12-th century), a manuscript copy of the Pentateuch, the first Russian printed book "The Apostle" (1564), the "Books of Kingdoms" by Francisco Skorin (1518) and the "Code of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich" (1649). The Library also has a rare collection of 18-th-century books and first editions of works by Pushkin, Griboyedov, Gogol, Nasyri and Tukay.
The periodical editions of the 19-th century are well represented in the Library as well as the literature about Kazan and the surrounding region. The Library is the pride of the University and an invaluable source of information for any researcher. The old building of the Library was constructed between 1825 and 1833 under the supervision of Rector N. Lobachevsky, who was at the same time the Chief Librarian of the University. The Library, which now bears his name, is still growing, and even its new building cannot take all its treasures. Kazan University also boasts of several splendid museums.
Come to the Zoological Museum in the main building of the University. It was set up in 1938. The Ethnographic Museum started as a room of antiques that appeared soon after the founding of the University. This museum has rich ethnographic collections from all over the world, including those brought to Kazan by Professor S. Simonov from his round-the-world travels with Russian explorers Bellinsgausen and Lazarev, and those contributed by the well-known scholar of the Far East, V. Arsenyev. The Geological Museum was set up in 1805. It has over 100,000 samples of ores, minerals and gem stones, including emeralds, topazes, rubies, garnets, sapphires and amethysts. Many other museums in Kazan started as the University collections.
A special role in the history of the University was played by the great mathematician Nikolai Lobachevsky, Rector of the University from 1827 to 1846. The Rector's House, bought by the University in 1810, is still part of the main architectural complex. It was while living here that Lobachevsky laid the basis of non-Euclidean geometry which shattered the mathematical concepts of this time and led the way to modern mathematical thinking. The early period of development and glory of the University owes much to the efforts of Lobachevsky who was actively involved in all research projects as well as building plans. A bronze bust of the great mathematician, by the sculptor Maria Dillon, was erected in 1896 opposite the Rector's House. Around this monument, a fine square has grown up, flanked on all sides by scientific and educational institutions: Kazan Science Center of Russian Academy of Sciences (the former Kseninskaya Girls' Gymnasium), the National Library of Tatarstan (formerly the Ushkova house), and the Chemistry Faculty block, built in 1954.
The chemistry school of Kazan University has a glorious history. According to the great Russain chemist D. Mendeleev, creator of the Periodic Table of Elements, Russian chemistry owes its existence to the discoveries made at Kazan University. It was here that K. Klaus discovered ruthenium in 1844. The founder of the Kazan school of chemistry was N. I. Zinin, who graduated from Kazan University in 1833 and became a professor in 1841. His discoveries laid down the foundation for a completely new branch of industry: the manufacture of synthetic dyes, explosives and medicines. From 1852 A. Butlerov guided all the research work in chemistry at the University. In 1864–1866 he published his famous work "An Introduction into the Study of Organic Chemistry" which brought him world fame. A bronze monument to him stands in the public square not far from the University. After Butlerov had left Kazan, his work was continued by his students V. Markovnikov and A. Zaytsev. They trained a number of distinguished chemists including academicians A. Arbuzov and S. Reformatsky.
Kazan University got its Anatomy Theatre and the Observatory in 1837 and 1838. The grand neo-classical edifice of the Anatomy Theatre is connected with the names of the outstanding physicians R.Aristov, who held the chair of anatomy in 1839–1868, and P. Lesgaft. The telescope purchased by Lobachevsky is still used in the University Observatory, where worked the brilliant astronomer I. Simonov. From 1819 to 1821 he took part in the round-the-world Antarctic expedition of F. Bellinsgausen and M. Lazarev and became the first climatologist of Antarctica.
The list of outstanding scholars who worked or studied at Kazan University includes N. Lobachevsky, creator of non-Eucledian geometry; mathematicians N. Chebotarev, A. Petrov and N. Chetaev; A. Butlerov, creator of the theory of organic compounds; chemists N. Zinin, V. Markovnikov, K. Klaus, A. and B. Arbuzov; specialists in oriental studies H. Fren and O. Kovalevsky; Tatar linguist I. Khalfin; E. Adamyuk, founder of Russian ophthalmology; V. Bekhterev, founder of Russian experimental psychology; writers S. Aksakov, L. Tolstoy and N. Zagoskin; composer M. Balakirev; physicists E. Zavoysky, S. Altshuller and V. Engelgardt.
15 Academicians and Correspondent-Members of the Academy of Sciences of Russia and the Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan work at Kazan University.
Other institution names:
- Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University
- Kazan State University named after V. I. Ul'yanova-Lenina