The Bet’ki fortress

Location: Tukaevsky district, the Bet’ki village, the Bet’ki fortress

The fortress was a strong point for Russian colonisation in the Zakamye region. It arose at the beginning of the 17th century which is earlier than the one at Chelny. Traces of the fortress have been preserved in the centre of the village.

Origins in the 16th Century

The history of Bet’ki fortress in Zakamye dates back to the mid-16th century. A time when this land was rich but sparsely populated. As diverse ethnic groups, including Tatars, Chuvash, Mari, and Mordva, migrated to Zakamye, entire villages began to settle.

Russian Elements Emergence

In the 8th to 9th centuries, the first Russian elements appeared in this region. During the heyday of the Volga Bulgaria and the Kazan Khanate, these elements became more pronounced due to close economic ties. However, wars led to the settlement of war captives and conquered civilians in Zakamye.

Preparedness for Resettlement

Russian peasants, psychologically ready for resettlement, were supported by Moscow authorities, who took measures to ensure the safety of new settlers. From the mid-16th century, forts and fortifications, such as Laishyev, Tetiushi, and Menzelinsk, were constructed to protect Russian settlements from attacks by nomadic tribes.

Betki: From Fortress to Manor

Bet’ki, one of the first fortified Russian settlements on the left bank of the Kama river, began as a fortress or ostrog, initially populated by Cossacks and streletses (musketeers). In the early 17th century, it evolved into a manor of the Kazan district and, in 1637, was transferred to the possession of the Elabuga Trinity Monastery. Fortresses like Betki played a key role in ensuring security and attracting the Russian population to Zakamye.