There are monuments of Bulgar period such as stone tower, dated X - XVI centuries,
ruins of the mosque-fortress. It was fortified with protective structures such
as rampart and moats. The Bulgars used to call the fortress Albuga (i.e. piebald,
grey, angry & bull, snake, knight).
The reason why the Bulgars (ancestors of todays Tatars populating Volga region
and Ural) chose this place to build a fortress is the following.
A.Spitsin - a prominent Russian archeologists of XIX has studied the settlement
in 1888. He came to con-clusions that the main part of the settlement was more
probably either a part of caravanserai or a tomb of a moslem saint.
Old tatar manuscripts tell us the facts that the prominent Islam scholars used
to live in that town. They were Akbali Hodzha and Amlen Hodzha. Tamerlan came
to visit their graves in XIX century. Ivan V. Shishkin wrote in his book «History
of Elabuga» (published in 1871): «lt is rumoured, idol-aters who recently have
adopted Islam till nowadays come to that mountain to pray at the hypothetical
grave of their saint. But neither the name nor the exact burial place are known...*
Hitherto, Devil's town has saved its legends undiscovered, giving historians
possibilities for hot discussions concerning date of the town's foundation's.
Local legend tells that the name originated from the icon of three saints -
St. Basil, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John the Zlatoust, sent by Ivan
the Terrible to the Protection Church. Advantageous location of the settlement
defined its part as an economical center of the region and also as a terminal.
At the same time it was founded in the juncture of river trade routs leading
to Vyatka, Kazan, Ufa and used for transportation of Ural bread and fish. These
goods were brought to Russian towns and abroad along Volga and Kama rivers.
As soon as Vyatka province was founded in 1780, Yelabuga was given the status
of a chief town of a district and its own emblem. Later on Yelabuga developed
to become a big trade town and commercial center of Kama region. So it has been
preserved up to nowadays. People know Elabuga is an old merchant trade town
with golden domes of the churches. However today, one will not see busy tradespeople
praising their goods. Modern transports have replaced elegant old carriages.
A nice old Yelabuga town is situated on a high right bank of Kama to the north-east
of Tatarstan in the mouth of Toima river. Nowadays the way of life here is quiet
and moderate. Intricately decorated houses, silent small streets and golden
domes of churches create unique atmosphere of comfort and history. Primeval
nature looks like one depicted on the pictures of a great Russian artist Ivan
I.Shishkin. The town has a long and rich history of prominent people.
Sights of Yelabuga
- Devil's town.
- Pokrovskaya (the Protection) church.
- Cathedral in name of the holy image of the Saviour.
- Staheev's house (B. Pokrovskaya str., 5,7).
- Monastery of the Virgin of Kazan.
- Panteleymon alms-house.
- Gostiny dvor (trade house).
- National bank.
- Alexandriysky orphanage.
- Eparchy women college.
- Shishkin's house.
- Shishkin's statue.
- N.A. Durova's house.
- M.I. Tsvetaeva's house