The Governor’s Palace was built from 1845 to 1848 for the “military governor along with space for imperial apartments.” The structure was erected on the highest part of the Kremlin hill where the Khan’s palace once stood, and before that, that of Volga Bulgaria. Thus, the architects sought to preserve the 1,000-year old traditions of an established administrative center. This is the heart of the Kremlin.
During the invasion of the Golden Horde, Kazan’s position only became stronger. By the 15th century, the fortress on the Kremlin hill had became the core of the Kazan Khanate, around which everything else revolved.
The ruins of the Khan’s palace remained for a long time, alongside construction of the Russian Kremlin and the head commandant’s house. During a visit to Kazan in 1836, Emperor Nicholas I ordered the construction of a new Governor’s Palace.
Striving for perfection, authorities ordered that the famous architect Konstantin Ton, who designed the Russian-Byzantine style of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Grand Kremlin Palace in Russia, oversee the work for the Governor’s Palace in Kazan.
Inside the palace is a suite of rooms. Mikhail Korinfsky, who also built the Georgian Cathedral of Our Lady Raifa Monastery and the main building of Kazan University, designed the interior of the palace in a Russian classical style. The Chancellery Office was located in the basement of the palace, with the Governor’s reception and living rooms situated on the first floor. More than 15 rooms on the second floor were dedicated to the Russian Emperor and his family in case they visited Kazan. Grand rooms designed for special occasions were decorated, then as now, with gold leaf, painted ceilings, and mirrors. The style of the imperial chambers changed several times by the 20th century, but always remained rather modest.
The two-story palace is connected to a service building as well as to the Palace Church through a second-story passageway. The Suyumbike Tower is also part of the palace territory.