The white fortress wall of the Kazan Kremlin spans a length of 1800 meters and stands as an impenetrable and true monument to endurance and strength. Already in the 16th century, visiting travelers wrote about the fortress with great admiration. The Englishman Giles Fletcher, who visited Russia in 1588-89, wrote of the Kazan fortress as one of the most “well-built fortifications he’d ever seen, one capable to withstand any siege".
The walls of the Khan and the Russian Kremlin were constructed thoroughly. From the middle of the 15th century to the memorable 1552, the Moscow army attacked Kazan eight times - with all the attacks proving futile, until the last siege, which ended with the victory of Ivan the Terrible.
In the 16th century, after the fall of Kazan, the fortress was partially demolished, and Pskovian masters were invited to restore it. They employed all their skills and talents, putting great thought into how to protect the walls properly at all stages of a possible siege. The Kremlin was surrounded by a deep moat, and the thickness of the walls, in some places, was over six meters. In the walls were cannon holes and niches for storing ammunition.
In the 17th century, the fortification was revived with brick on top of the natural stone. In the 18th century, the towers were added. Some of the fortifications of the Kremlin did not survive to the present day due to dilapidation over time. Of the 13 towers, referred to in the census book of 1675, five were dismantled in the 19th century. The Dmitrovskaya Tower was not saved, and neither were the North, North-Eastern and North-Western Towers. Also the unusual, in terms of its architectural style, Pentagonal Tower, which was no longer used for defense following the fire of 1774, did not live to see the present day.
Eight towers still adorn the walls of the Kremlin, and the fortress still corresponds to the original town design, which was one of the reasons for its inclusion in the UNESCO list.
The Spasskaya Gate Tower, adorned with a dial, survived and it continues to protect the city to this day. In its lower level is the doorway that acts as an entrance to the Kremlin. The tower is decorated with a huge gilded star. It was constructed at the same time
as the Round Southwest and Southeast Towers, Taynitskaya, Transfiguration, and Resurrection Towers, by Ivan Shiryai and Postnik Yakovlev in the 16th century.
One of the most well-preserved towers is the Nameless (round) Tower, which dates back to the turn of the 16th - 17th century - it was constructed by local master craftsmen.
The Transfiguration and Taynitskaya Towers are passage towers. The latter was built on the site of the Nur-Ali Tower, through the ruins of which Ivan the Terrible triumphantly entered Kazan. Resurrection (Ostorozhnaya) Tower was also turned back into a passage tower; in the 19th century, a brick dungeon was built in its place.
Konsistorskaya brick tower originated in the 17th century, and also long served as a prison for the duration of the next century. In the 20th century, during reconstruction, it was once again crowned by the wooden hip roof that it had lost earlier - just like the Southeast round tower.
The Kremlin walls and towers have risen above the city for many centuries, instilling confidence through the strength and resilience of the ancient fortress.