A Place Where A Kettle (Kazan) Boiled
Once upon a time a khan decided to build a city. “Where shall we build it?” he asked his people. One of them said:
- Let’s fill a kettle (kazan) with water, put it on a cart, make fire under the kettle and ride horses. Where the kettle boils, that’s where we shall build a city.
So they did. The kettle boiled on the territory of modern Kazan. They say, that is where the city was built.
Chasing Tokhtamish, Tamerlan (Aksak Timer) came to the middle stream of the river Oka; here he defeated his enemy’s army and pursued it up to the river Volga.
Tamerlan laid the Bolgar city waste with fire and sword. The winners showed no mercy and killed the rich and the poor, the young and the old. Women and children were taken prisoners.
Khan Gabdulla who ruled Bolgaria at that period, understood that he wouldn’t be able to protect the town, so he took his family and some of his relatives and sheltered himself in the most safe building – the Palace of Justice (today’s Black Chamber). When the winners entered the town, they put beams round the Palace and set fire. All who were inside, but for the khan’s daughter, died. People considered this girl saint, as she was smart and kind, and she was called a gury for her beauty. The Most High saved this noble girl from martyr death…
When the slaughter was over, it turned out that the girl’s brothers Galimbek and Altinbek were also survived. The khan’s relatives helped them to cross the river Kama. Up to the end of the war.
The brothers lived in this save place. But even when all was over they couldn’t return to the native town. Khan Gabdulla’s sons settled in Kazan that was a large settlement at this time. A lot of people from the destroyed Bolgar and its surroundings also moved there.
Sources: Khuzin F. Sh. “Medieval Kazan”, -Kazan: Tatar publishing house, 2004.
Nurikhan Fattakh. Itil / Translation from Tatar by Marsel Zaripov. Kazan: Tatknigoizdat, 1987.