Kazan has a number of world famous factories which produce high-class rocket and aviation engines, helicopters and bomber aircraft. However, the history of the defence industry in Kazan is not restricted to the 20th century. It dates back more than three hundred years and began with the construction of the Armoury Yard in the Kremlin.
The Armoury Yard is located in the North Western part of the Kremlin. The site today is made up of four corpuses which are visited by hundreds of tourists every day.
The corpuses of the Armoury Yard are laid out in the form of a rectangle forming a yard also referred to as the Foundry (Liteiny). In the 17-18th centuries, the yard was a strategically important site for the defence industry in Kazan. It was not only a place for the repair and storage of arms, but also large scale production.
The majority of rifles for the Great Patriotic War of 1812 were cast here. The factory worked at full capacity to supply the Russian army. A new Eastern corpus was built at the time, housing a forge with 32 furnaces. Three years later, after the triumphant victory of Russian troops over Napoleon, the production of arms came to an end.
In 1815, the Western corpus was badly damaged during a fire, and after its reconstruction it was used to teach military skills. Initially it housed the Battalion School for Military Cantonments, and then the Kazan Junker Infantry School.
The military history of the Armoury Yard is now a thing of the past – it is now peaceful place.
One of the corpuses houses a canteen, which is loved not only by the staff and workers in the Kremlin, but also the large number of tourists who come here. The Western Corpus, once home to the residence of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, now houses the Armoury Yard museum. The Foundry Yard is used every year to hold the Kremlin LIVE festival of modern culture, which has already become a showcase event for the city.