Literary Museum of Gabdulla Tukai is located in the House of Shamil, one of the most beautiful buildings of the Tatar District. A luxurious 19th-century merchant's house has long been a favorite meeting place for the fans of the great poet.
Hereditary honorary citizen of Kazan, merchant of the First Guild and millionaire Ibrahim Apakov built a two-story mansion in the Old Tatar District somewhere around in 1863. A year later, his daughter married the third son of Imam Shamil, the leader of the Caucasian highlanders in the war against Russia. Her dowry was that very mansion, now known as the House of Shamil.
In 1986, the House of Shamil opened its doors for the Literary Museum of Gabdulla Tukai.
The poet quite possibly never visited this House: this location for the Museum was chosen because in April 1913 hundreds of people came to say goodbye to the poet to Yunusovsky Square situated in the vicinity of the House of Shamil.
Tukai did used to live nearby, in the Bulgar Hotel, where a new small museum will soon be open. Tukai also lived in the Amur Hotel, where he stayed a few months before his death. The editorial offices of the El-Islakh newspaper and Yalt-Yolt journal for which he worked were also located nearby.
The museum exposition takes us on a journey of the entire life of Tukai: from his childhood in Kyrlai village, to the adolescence in the Urals, to his rich with events life in Kazan and travels across Russia. Among the exhibits are the personal things of the poet: famous black velvet tubeteika, metallic glass for pencils that he bought in St. Petersburg, travel bag, faience jewelry box that he gave to his half-sister Gaziza, cufflinks. Gabdulla’s birth certificate, written by his father Mukhammedgarif, is also included in the exhibition. Household items of the era helped recreate the atmosphere of a typical House of Mullah and a literary and musical salon. Here you can see the newspapers that published Tukai’s first poems and articles, as well as programs and tickets for shows of Sayar troupe, where Tukai had quite a few friends.
From his very young years the future poet sought out everything new. He was wearing half-boots and caps, studied Russian and European literature, without any hesitation broke his ties with madrassas and kadimists, the followers of the conservative Islam who opposed reforms, and welcomed the revolution of 1905.
He went to Kazan to become a true intellectual. The future representative of the classic Tatar literature did everything he could to achieve success. In just over six years, Gabdulla Tukai wrote 350 poems, 107 fables and children's stories, more than 120 articles and satirical articles. He worked in print shops, editorial offices of magazines and newspapers. During his lifetime, 16 of his books of poems and fables were published. He also put together two learning books for Tatar schools.
Tukai’s poems and tales grasp the essence of Tatar culture; akin to Alexander Pushkin and Taras Shevchenko, he managed to enrich the language of the people of Tatarstan and find the right words to describe patriotism without hypocrisy, tradition with contemporary touch, and feelings without excessive sentimentality. His poems continued their journey even after the departure of their author - and this is the true immortality.