Kazan (on the Volga River, 900 kilometers east of Moscow) is a city of 1.17 million and the capital of the Tatar Republic. Founded in the 13th century and capital of the Tatar state in the 15th and 16th centuries, it has a long history and was claimed for Russia by Ivan the Terrible in 1552 and later developed as the gateway to Siberia. Both Lenin and Tolstoy studied at Kazan University, one of Russia's oldest. Lenin was thrown out for his revolutionary activities. Official tourist Portal of the Republic of Tatarstan / http://visit-tatarstan.com

Kazan is a very tourist-friendly city. Here you can go for a long walk through the picture-perfect streets of historical houses, visit museums and theaters, and try out the masterpieces of Tatar cuisine. It was is where east and the west, Christianity and Islam merge rather thn clash, old and new architecture interweave here.

More than 115 nationalities live in Kazan, the majority of which are Russians and Tatars. Kazan is considered to be one of the most sporty cities in Russia. World championships for fencing, water sports and ball hockey have been here. It hosted games for the 2018 World Cup and hosted the 2013 Worldwide Summer Universiade. The city has Russia’s main training centers for rowing and skating.

Accommodation: Kazan has about a hundred hostels and more than two hundred hotels, ranging from one to five stars. Prices start at RUB 350 per night. The CapsLock hostel offers not merely rooms, but cosmic capsules. Perfect for introverts. A one-person capsule wil cost you RUB 1,000, and a double –RUB 1,800. The four-star Riviera hotel in the heart of Kazan is the perfect choice for families. Here you can enjoy wonderful panoramic views of the city's historical district, and pass your time at the water park.

Timeline of the History of Kazan and Tatarstan

922: The generally accepted date when the Volga-region Bulgars adopted Islam. [Source: RFE/RL, June 24, 2005]

1005: The generally accepted date of the founding of the city of Kazan, originally a military outpost.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, Kazan was a major trading center along the Volga River and the main city for Bulgar settlers in the region.

1223: Kazan Bulgars beat back the first wave of Mongol invaders.

1236: A Mongol army conquers the Bulgars and captures Kazan.

1361: Emir Bulat-Timur occupies the Bulgar region in a bid to strengthen the hold of the Mongol Golden Horde.

1376:The Bulgar region besieged by forces loyal to Moscow.

1391: First mention of the name of Kazan in Russian chronicles.

1399: Kazan considered one of the three power centers of the Bulgar sultans. Around this time, the city began minting coins and showing other evidence of increasing military and political influence.

1431: Bulgars suffer major military defeats at the hands of forces loyal to Moscow, indicating the beginning of the decline of Bulgar power in the region.

1445: Bulgar Prince Makhmudek defeats Moscow forces and is proclaimed the sovereign of Kazan.

15th and 16th centuries: During this period, the Kazan kremlin (fortress) complex was built up, as was the Kazan citadel within it.

1550: City population reaches about 50,00.

1552: Following a seven-week siege, Kazan falls to an army loyal to Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible. Control of the region was finally secured in 1557.

Second half of the 16th century: Kazan is gradually Russianized and it is forbidden for Tatars to live within the city.

1556: Construction of the white-stone kremlin begins, replacing earlier wooden fortifications.

17th century: Kazan prospers economically, with the first appearance of manufacturing and the emergence of other nearby towns.

1708: Kazan becomes a gubernia center when Peter the Great institutes a political reform. City population is about 40,000.

1758: Opening of first provincial school for children of nobility. Muslim education system exists despite opposition from Moscow authorities.

1760: An urban-development plan laid out for city streets. About 10 percent of the city population is Tatar.

1771: Two Muslim religious schools opened. A third appeared in 1780.

1774: Kazan suffers heavy damage during a peasant revolt headed by Don Cossack Yemelyan Pugachev. Following the suppression of the revolt by Catherine the Great, she decrees that mosques may be built in the city. Official discrimination against Tatars, however, continues.

1791: First permanent theater opened in Kazan.

1804: First university founded.

1830: City population is 43,000.

1859: Population of Kazan reaches 60,600.

1886: Kazan linked to international telephone lines.

1896: Construction completed on Kazan's first bridge across the Volga and the beginning of regular rail transport between Kazan and Moscow.

1897: Kazan is one of the five largest cities in Russia, with a population of 130,000, 22 percent of whom are Tatars. This year also sees the first appearance of gas and electrical streetlights.

1899: First electric tram appears.

1900: Kazan is a major religious center with 88 churches and temples and 13 mosques.

1918: Kazan briefly named capital of the Idel-Ural state during the Russian Civil War. It was also briefly the center of the anti-Bolshevik Bolaq-artee Republic. City population is 206,000.

1919: Kazan made administrative center of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In the following two decades, most of the city's churches and mosques are destroyed.

1926: City population is 179,000.

1939: City population is 398,000.

1941-45: During World War II, many factories from the western part of Russia are evacuated to Kazan and the city becomes a major manufacturing center producing tanks and military aircraft.

1959: City population is 667,000.

1989: City population is 1,094,400.

1991: After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazan again becomes a major center of Tatar culture.

2000: Kazan embarks on a major urban renovation, including construction of a subway system.

2002: City population is 1,153,000. Of that, about 42 percent are Tatars and 50 percent are Russians. Just over 1 percent are Chuvash. Nearly one-third of all marriages are between Russians and Tatars.

Entertainment, Shopping and Sports in Kazan

Theaters: 1) Galiaskar Kamal Tatar State Academic Theater, one of the most famous and popular theaters of the Republic of Tatarstan, situated in historical center of Kazan; 2) Hermitage Concert Hall, located Kazan Riviera in the cultural and entertainment complex; 3) Concert Hall of the Pyramid Cultural and Entertainment Center, located in the historical center, in close proximity to the Kazan Kremlin.

Sports Facilities: 1) Kazan Arena Stadium, hosted World Cup 2018 matches; 2) Kazan International Equestrian Complex; 3) KazanRing Motor Speedway, located in Vysokogorskom area; 4) Palace of Water Sports, built for Summer Universiade 2013; 5) Palace of Sports of the Republic of Tatarstan, near the Kazan Kremlin, has ice sports facilities and other stuff; 6) Tatneft Ice Palace Arena, located across the road from the right bank of the river Kazanka; and 7) Boat Station near the Kazan Family Center, near the Kazan Family Center and the Kremlin embankment on the Kazanka River. . Rides and Amusement Parks: 1) Round the World Panoramic Wheel, offers a magnificent views from a height of 65 meters; 2) Riviera Kazan Aqua Park, one of Europe's largest water parks; 3) Kyrlay Amusement Park, located in the city center along the quay of Kazanka river; 4) Kazan Oceanarium, where sharks swim over your head and huge rays swim below your feet; 5) FUN24, the largest in Tatarstan, an indoor amusement park with a unique payment system. There is also a Dolphinarium in Naberezhnye Chelny, the only permanent dolphinarium in the Volga region.

Children's Entertainment: 1) Ice Park near the Ekiyat Puppet Theater, where every winter sculptors create a winter ice park for children; 2) Yurkin Park, in an isolated two-hectare area, 150 dinosaur full-size figures, some of which are interactive and can move and produce sounds; 3)The Residence of Tatar Santa Claus — Kysh Babai and His Daughter Kar Kyzy (The Snow Maiden), open in the Christmas season and winter in the village of Yana Kyrlay; 4) Children City Kidspeys, with numerous buildings, each with a workshop or take on a different theme; 5) Children's Railway, situated in the forest within the city of Kazan and covering an area of 6000 square meters; and 6) House of Entertaining Science and Technology, where you see, create toothpaste, experience optical illusions and engage hands on experiments.

Zoos and Circuses: Circuses: 1) Kazan Circus, located in its own building in the heart of the city, at the foot of the Kazan Kremlin; 2) Amazing Zoo, where touching animals is encouraged; Petting Zoo, a large contact zoo in the open air on the river Kazanka; 3) Kazan Zoological and Botanic Garden, the oldest zoo in Russia and one of the oldest in Europe; 4) Kazan Park of Tropical Butterflies, located on the fourth floor of the Suvar Plaza shopping center.

Shopping Centers and Malls: Koltso (The Ring) Shopping and Entertainment Complex, opened for the 1000th anniversary of Kazan: 2) Mega Kazan Family Shopping center, covers an area of more than 170,000 square meters, just a 15-minute drive from the city center; 3) Cultural and Entertainment Center Rodina, located in the center of Kazan on Bauman pedestrian street; Kazan Riviera Cultural and entertainment center, part of the hotel and entertainment complex with a water park.

Sights in Kazan

Kazan is an old historical city of Moslem minarets, Christian domes and military fortresses. Dominating a large hill, the kremlin has been built, destroyed and rebuilt several times. The current white limestone walls were built under Ivan the Terrible. All the main sights and beautiful streets are located in the historical center of the city.

Among the nice places for taking a stroll are Bauman Street, Kazan version of Moscow's Arbat, and the embankment of the Kaban lakes and Gorkinsko-Ometyevskiy Forest. In the winters, the Kremlyovskaya Embankment welcomes visitors to Fairy Tale Town and a 3,000-square-meter ice rink. Must-sees include the Kazan Kremlin (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Kul Sharif Mosque and the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan.

Important buildings include the Annunciation Cathedral, designed by the same architect who designed St. Basil's cathedral in Moscow; Syumbeka Tower, a striking, leaning 59-meter high structure named after a princess married to three successive khans. There are many legends related to this princess. There are wonderful views of the city from the tower and Spassky clock tower. Churches include the newly restored Cathedral of Peter and Paul which dates back to the 18th century. The Haymarket Mosque has been brought back to life. Used by the Communists as a school for builders it was covered with scaffolding in the 1990s as Muslims worked to restore it. Among the museums are the Museum of Tatar Folk Art and the Tatarstan Regional History Museum.

Farmers Palace and Mosques in Kazan

The Farmers Palace was built as part the effort to spruce up the center of Kazan for the Universiade-2013. The monumental building is controversial, but spectacular. It is called the Palace of the farmers because it holds the office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. There are good views of views of the Palace and the promenade of the river Kazanka from the north wall of the Kazan Kremlin

The architecture features elements of classicism as is regarded as having a Beaux-Arts, or eclectic style. The building consists of two symmetrical blocks and dome. In the center of the composition — the highlight of the construction — is a 20-meter-high wood and bronze tree inside the main arch. At night, the farmers Palace beautifully illuminated . The 20-meter high tree is illuminated by green lights that makes the tree look like it has leaves.

Mosques in Kazan include the Blue Mosque, a 200-year-old structure in the Old Tatar settlement; Al-Marjani, also in the Old Tatar settlement, built in Kazan after the capture of the city by Ivan the Terrible; Nurullah Mosque (formerly known as "Hay", "Yunusovskaya", "Seventh cathedral"), the first of its kind, marked the beginning of the spread of a new type of mosques; Apanaevskaya Mosque, built by the merchant Ibn Yakub Sultangaliyev in 1768-1771; and Bornay mosque, a romantic, "foreign", that looks sort of like an Orthodox church (also called the "Third Cathedral").

Qol Sharif Mosque

Qol Sharif Mosque is a compressed, strange-looking structure erected in 2005 in the Kazan Kremlin to mark the 1000th anniversary of Kazan’s founding and to commemorate the legendary mosque of the Khanate of Kazan period. It and the nearby Christian Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral symbolize the rapprochement of Islami and Christianity. The five-story building houses a museum of Islamic culture. The main hall of the mosque can hold 1,500 people.

The cupola of the main building bears a resemblance to the “Kazanskaya shapka” (hat) worn by the Khans of old. The interior of the mosque features a beautiful 2.5 ton chandelier made in the Czech Republic according to sketches by Tatarstan artists. The parquetry is lined with magnificent Persian carpets. The mosque is beautifully illuminated at night.

Only a few descriptions and drawings of the ancient mosque have survived to the present. It was headed by Seid Qol Sharif. He conducted the defense of the city and was killed during the siege of Kazan in 1552. According to legend, the silhouette of the burned-down mosque made such an impression on the attackers that they decided to immortalize its memory in the layout of Saint Basil Cathedral, now in Red Square in Moscow, which was erected to commemorate the capture of Kazan.

Kazan Kremlin

Kazan Kremlin — with its white-stone walls, numerous museums and ensemble of buildings — is the premier attraction of Kazan. In 2000, the Historic and Architectural Complex of the Kazan Kremlin was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the latter half of the 13th Century to the first half of the 15th Century, the Kremlin was the center of the Kazan principality as part of the Golden Horde, and after its disintegration, — the military and administrative center of the Kazan Khanate. After the capture of Kazan in 1552 by the troops of Ivan the Terrible, it became the Christian See of the Volga Land. And the administrative and military center of the annexed Volga region, since 1708 it was the center of the Kazan province, since 1922 — the administrative center of the Tatar Autonomous Republic, and since 1992 — the state center of the Republic of Tatarstan within the Russian Federation. The only surviving Tatar fortress in Russia and an important place of pilgrimage, the Kazan Kremlin consists of an outstanding group of historic buildings dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, integrating remains of earlier structures of the 10th to 16th centuries.

According to UNESCO: “ Built on a site inhabited since very ancient times, the Kazan Kremlin dates back to the Islamic period in the history of Volga Bulgaria, the Golden Horde and the Kazan Khanate. In the 10th-13th centuries, Kazan was a pre-Mongol Bulgar city with fortified trading settlement, surrounded by moats, ramparts and stockade. In the 12th century, a white stone fortress was constructed, and the city became an outpost on the northern border of Volga Bulgaria. In the 13th-16th centuries, the city developed in the framework of the Golden Horde and Kazan Khanate. [Source: UNESCO]

“In the first half of the 15th century, it became a capital of the state and an active political, military, administrative, commercial and cultural center. It was conquered in 1552 by Ivan the Terrible and became the Christian See of the Volga Land and the East. The Kremlin, which in many respects kept the planning of an ancient Tatar fortress and which became an important center of pilgrimage, consists of an outstanding group of historic buildings dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, integrating remains of earlier structures of the 10th to the 16th centuries.

“The citadel is an exceptional testimony of historical continuity and cultural diversity. Apart from its remarkable aesthetic qualities, the site has retained traces of its foundations in the 10th century, as well as from the Khanate period (15th to 16th centuries). The Kazan Kremlin is the last extant Tatar fortress with traces of its original town-planning conception in Russia. This historical citadel is a result from the interaction of various cultures - Bulgar, Golden Horde, medieval Kazan-Tatar, Italian, Russian, and modern Tatar. It is the northwestern limit of the spread of Islam, and the southern extremity of the Pskov-Novgorod style.

“The unique synthesis of Tatar and Russian architectural styles is reflected in its key monuments (Syuyumbeki’s Tower, the Annunciation Cathedral, and the Saviour Tower). The ensemble is inseparable from its surroundings and the entire city, where the historic quarters form the buffer zone. The new mosque that was built within the complex can be understood as a new construction in a historic context. However, it should be noted that the construction reunites the ensemble of the Kremlin, enriches the architecture of the city and symbolizes the peaceful coexistence of different cultures, Islam and Christianity, which makes the mosque an exceptional monument.”

The site is important because: 1) “The Kazan Kremlin complex represents exceptional testimony of historical continuity and cultural diversity over a long period of time, resulting in an important interchange of values generated by the different cultures. 2) The historic citadel represents an exceptional testimony of the Khanate period and is the only surviving Tartar fortress with traces of the original town-planning conception. 3) The Kazan Kremlin and its key monuments represent an outstanding example of a synthesis of Tatar and Russian influences in architecture, integrating different cultures (Bulgar, the Golden Horde, Tatar, Italian, and Russian), as well as showing the impact of Islam and Christianity.

Buildings in the Kazan Kremlin

At present, the Kremlin holds residence of the President of the Republic and administrative buildings and several historical, architectural, and archaeological complexes, including: the fortifications, the Governor’s Palace and Syuyumbeki’s Tower, the Annunciation Cathedral, the Public Offices, the Saviour-Transfiguration Monastery, the Cadets’ School, and the Cannon Foundry. The archaeological layers range from 3 meters to 8 meters in depth.”

The Kul Sharif Mosque, destroyed in 1552 when Kazan was captured by Ivan the Terrible was rebuilt in 2005 to mark the 1000th anniversary of the city. Sights of the modern Kremlin are now united into “The Kazan Kremlin” State Historical, Architectural and Art Museum and Heritage Site. The total area of the Museum and Heritage Site is about 150,000 square meters. The outer walls perimeter is about 1 800 meter long nad has eight fortress towers, of which three are gate towers. Nowadays guided tours in different languages start here. The museums house permanent collections and temporary exhibitions.

Annunciation Cathedral is the oldest the building in the Kazan Kremlin and one of the most important surviving monuments of Kazan Orthodox history and culture. Built in 1561-1562 on the orders of Ivan the Terrible and designed by Pskov masters headed by Postnik Yakovlev and Ivan Shiryaev, the cathedral was the center of spiritual and cultural life of the Volga for a long time and contains the necropolis of Kazan archbishops. Many historical figures and famous personalities such as Peter the Great, Paul I, Nicholas I, Catherine the Great, Alexander Pushkin, Alexander Radishchev and Sergei Rachmaninoff visited it. The famous Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin sang with the choir many times. Annunciation Cathedral burned many times and was restored and rebuilt three times. In the 1920 the bell tower of 20th century it was torn down and the west was covered with a porch. Twice a year there is organized a procession from the Cathedral to the place the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, was found, which brings together several thousand people.

Sujumbike Tower

Sujumbike Tower is one of the most famous structures of the Kazan Kremlin. Standing seven stories and 58 meters high and made of red bricks, the tower is named after the last ruler of Kazan Sujumbike and is a recognized architectural symbol of Kazan, one of the visiting cards of the city.

According to the legend, Ivan the Terrible the Terrible fell in love with the beautiful Sujumbike and invited her to Moscow to become his queen. The proud Kazan ruler rejected his offer. The infuriated tsar came to the walls of the city with a huge army, and the beautiful woman agreed to marry him, provided that he build the highest tower in the land in seven days. At the end of the seventh day, the tower was built, the wedding feast started, and Sujumbike climbed to the top of the tower to look at the city for the last time and, as the legend says, she jumped off it to maintain the honor of herself and her people. Whether from something to do with unrequited love of Ivan the Terrible, or because of the hasty construction, the tower soon acquired a “falling” look. Today, the deviation of the tower spire from vertical is about two meters in the northeast direction.

The story aside, reality, when the tower was built exactly is still unknown. Most likely it was constructed in the first half of the 17th century, decades after Ivan the Great’s death, and was a key element of the kremlin’s internal defensive line. Today the tower attracts thousands of tourists. Theirs is a belief that if you touch its walls with your hand and wish for love, it will come true.

Like most objects of the Kazan Kremlin, the Sujumbike Tower is illuminated in the evening, and there are openwork wrought-iron gates with images of the sun, the crescent moon and the zodiac signs in the tower's archway that have become a symbol of the VisitTatarstan tourist brand — the open gates of the hospitable Region of 1001 pleasure!

Museums in the Kazan Kremlin

The Kremlin in Kazan contains seven museums, including the Museums of Natural History and History of Statehood of Tatarstan and the Museum of Islamic Culture. The first branch of the State Hermitage outside St. Petersburg opened in Kazan in 2005. An effort is made to keep visitors coming to the museums of the Kremlin with changing exhibitions and new interactive programs.

Hermitage-Kazan Exhibition center (in the Kazan Kremlin) is Russia's first regional branch of the famous Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and shows off works from the Hermitage’s extensive collection. The Hermitage-Kazan Exhibition is located in the former Junker School building in the Kazan Kremlin property. The Kazan Hermitage opened in 2005 and was preceded by a cultural and educational exhibition program implemented in cooperation of the State Hermitage and the Republic of Tatarstan, which began with the opening of the “Treasures of Khan Kubrat” exhibition in 1997. Five major art exhibitions involving the Hermitage collection were held in Kazan in 1997-2004 and attracted a great deal of attention.

The halls of the Hermitage-Kazan exhibition center exhibits painting, crafts and historical and cultural collections. Among significant exhibitions held there have been “French Impressionists and Their Epoch”, “Nomads of Eurasia on the Way to the Empire”, “From China to Europe. The Art of the Islamic world” (organized in conjunction with the Louvre Museum in Paris), “The Genius of the Century” (organized jointly with the State Tretyakov Gallery) and a number of others. Exhibitions change every six months. The center hosts interactive classes, master classes and lectures led by employees of the Hermitage.

Tatarstan Museum of Natural History The museum was created in 2005 with the purpose of preservation and promotion of the geological heritage. Of Tatarstan and contains scientific and educational exhibits related to t the geological history of the republic, mineral resources, minerals, flora and fauna. There are a number of hands-on, interactive exhibits utilizing touchscreen kiosks and monitors and plasma display panels. You can try the world's only "cosmic scales," and see how much you weigh on the moon, Mars, Venus and Sirius. You can admire the collection of minerals, and learn how to extract them. Looking through the interactive telescope can observe different celestial objects.

Kremlin Embankment

The Kremlin embankment is a relatively new sight in Kazan. Designed to beautify the water zone of the Kazanka river, it divides Kazan into two parts — the historical center and residential districts. The Kremlin embankment is a well-organized pedestrian area with a total length of more than two kilometers, with a pedestrian area for walking and a zone for bicycles, roller blades and skateboards.

In the winter, a one-kilometer-long artificial ice rink opens here, which is the longest in Europe. There are several rental stations on the Kremlin embankment, where guests and residents of the capital can rent bicycles, scooters, roller skates, long boards and, of course, skates. In the westernmost part there is a 500-square-meter workout area with horizontal bars, parallel bars, wall bars, horizontal ladders and other structures and - exercise equipment. There are also coffee shops, bistros and restaurants such as LoveStory, LaFamiglia, MIO and Bakhcha.

There are lovely views from the Kremlin embankment. At night newly-built houses on the opposite bank are illuminated. At sunset, reflection of the Kazanka river combines with the setting sun create an pleasant atmosphere in the twilight glow. Events, festivals and exhibitions such as shows for local designers, sports competitions, dances and parades for children are held with some regularity.

Old Tatar Quarter of Kazan

The Old Tatar Quarter is at very heart of the historical part of Kazan and the main area of Tatar urban culture. In 1552, Ivan the Terrible drove the last Mongol knanates out of Russia with decisive victories in Kazan and Astrakhan. This opened the way for the expansion of the Russian empire southward and across Siberia to the Pacific. After the capture of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible, the Muslim Tatars were evicted from the city and were forbidden to enter or even approach the Kazan Kremlin (fortress) under penalty of death. Until the 18th Century, the Tatars built mosques in their settlement outside the kremlin and these mosques were destroyed and Islam was banned. After Catherine the Great (reigned 1762-1796) visited Kazan everything changed. She abolished that cruel decree issued by Ivan the Terrible and allowed the construction of mosques. This launched a blossoming of Muslim architecture. The Old Tatar Quarter was turned into the center of Tatar national culture and education — and today almost every house there is associated with some episode of Tatar history.

Among the noteworthy buildings are the mansions of the Tatar bourgeoisie and elite that were built decadess ago. Among these are the Yunusov-Apanaev's house, the house of Shigabutdin Mardzhani, Kayum Nasyri and Shamil Yusupov. In the 19th Century, famous poets read their works in Oriental club, the first Tatar plays were staged and intellectuals gathered in salons. Great mosques — such as Apanaevskaya, Golubaya (Blue), Galeevskaya, Burnaevskaya and Sennaya (Nurulla) — were built.

Other sights in the Old Tatar quarter include the Literary Museum of the Tatar poet Gabdulla Tukay, Interactive Museum of the Old Tatar Quarter, Museum House of the Enlightener Kayum Nasyri, Galiaskar Kamal Tatar State Academic Theater and the Tatar Usadba (Tatar Estate) Hotel and Food Village, which also includes Tatar Ethnography Museum, Art Crafts Gallery and Souvenir Shop. At the Chak-chak Museum you can learn about the favorite Tatar dessert.

Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral

Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral (in the historical center of Kazan near the Kazan Kremlin) is a unique architectural monument and one of the spiritual symbols of Kazan. A fine vivid example of the style of Peter the Great era, the so-called Russian or “Naryshkin” Baroque, it was erected in 1726 in honor of the visit to Kazan of Peter the Great.

The Cathedral was built by Kazan merchant Ivan Mikhlyaev on the site of the ancient Peter and Paul Church. The first mention of it dates to 1565. According to tradition, the foundation of the building was attended by Peter the Great, however but there is no documentary evidence to back this up. In The Soviet era, the Cathedral continued to operate until 1939. After that it was officially considered an architectural monument protected by the state. From the 1950s to the 1980s, it housed a planetarium. In 1989, the Cathedral was returned to the Church.

A 25-meter seven-tier iconostasis — a unique creation, decorated with gilded carvings — has been preserved in the cathedral and is around the same age as the cathedral, which itself is decorated with frescoes, stucco work,bright color and numerous facade details. To the northeast of the Cathedral there is a 49-meter-tall, six-tiered bell tower. Its Baroque decor matches that of the main building. Over its long history, many Russian tsars, famous writers and statesmen admired this temple. Feodor Chaliapin sang there. Alexander von Humboldt and Alexander Dumas wrote descriptions of it.

Bauman Pedestrian Street

Bauman street is one of the most beautiful and crowded streets of Kazan. Describing as being “Four Centuries Long Street”, it begins at the Kazan Kremlin and ends at Tukai Square. Most of its 1920 meters length is a pedestrian zone with hotels, souvenir shops, boutiques, coffee houses, restaurants, theaters, cinemas, bars and nightclubs. On holidays the street becomes a festival with theatrical performances, musi and dance shows and local artists displaying their works.

Before the capture of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible in 1552, the street was called Nogai Road.. After the capture it was called Bolshaya Prolomnaya (Great Breakthrough). In 1930, Bauman street received its current name in memory of a famous revolutionary born in Kazan. It became a pedestrian zone in 1986.

Today Bauman street is a business center of Kazan. It has preserved its pre-revolutionary appearance and has many merchant buildings and architectural monuments from the 17th-19th centuries. The biggest attractions of the street are Epiphany Cathedral, Nikolsky Cathedral and the John the Baptist Monastery. Among the unique monuments are the carriage of Catherine the Great, fountains with pigeons and frogs, the Arabic street clock, Zero meridian of Kazan, showing the distance to different geographical points of the world, a monument to Fedor Shalyapin, and the statue of the Cat of Kazan.

Sights in the Bauman Pedestrian Street

Carriage of Catherine the Great is a copy of the carriage that Catherine the Great left behind after her visit to Kazan in the late 18th century. The story goes that she was so impressed by reception she received in Kazan she left behind the carriage — and a galley now lost — to say thank you. Catherine presented two gifts to the city: the carriage and a galley. The original carriage — pulled by eight horses — is in the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan. The galley has been lost to time. Attendants for the carriage included a groom with a whip for each horse; four court runners for the a train; and four haiduk (attendants dressed like Hungarian foot soldiers) on each side. A platoon of Horse Guards escorted the carriage. Many people like to be photographed in front of the full-size copy of the iron carriage. Sitting in the carriage is said to make a wish about an interesting journey come true.

Kazan Cat Monument was erected in 2009 and is three meters high and two meters wide. Situated in the middle of the pedestrian street, it depicts a fat cat reclining on a bench. The sculpture was created by Kazan sculptor Igor Bashmakov and cast at an aluminum factory in the town of Zhukovsky. At the bottom is engraved with the words "Cat Kazan: mind Astrakhan, Siberian mind ..." According to one story after Russian Empress Elizabeth learned there were no mice in Kazan she ordered some cats from Kazan, the home of a special breed of "fighting" cats — strong, active animals "with a large head, neck, muscular, developed shoulder girdle, and a short tail." An imperial order dated October 13, 1745, shows that she ordered thirty cats transported from Kazan to St. Petersburg for catching mice that were breeding like crazy in the unfinished Winter Palace. According to reports from the Life Guards service, the cats did their job.

Temperance Museum "Moonshine" has 11 thematic with more than 1,500 exhibits, including a unique collection of wine glasses, goblets, damask and bottles, as well as everyday objects from different eras. Of particularly interest are a prototype of the first moonshine, "Medal for drunkenness," and the free cup of Peter. Visitors to the museum learn the origin of the common Russian expressions "to go under the fly", "fill in your eyes", "5 drops", "drunk as hell," and why there is a tradition of beating dishes for happiness, and leaving no empty bottles on the table and downing a drink while standing up. The museum is as much about Russian traditions and folk art as it about alcohol.

House of Tatar Cuisine was first opened in 1969. Its first chef, Yunus Akhmetzyanov, is well known in Tatarstan and was was awarded the title of "Master Chef" and given the Order of Lenin and "Excellence in Soviet trade" accolade. Among the signature dishes are basturma (Bloated tenderloin of beef), lettuce from the rumen or grilled duck breast, different kinds of homemade sausages, Tartar "tutyrmu". Tatars are very fond of soups and broths. One served here include noodle soup with chicken and cream, "katyk" pea soup with horse meat, soup with beef and kullama shourpa lamb. The dishes most associated with Yunus Akhmetzyanova: are ase tartare, lamb and horse meat stew with vegetables, tutyrgan tavyk (tat stuffed with chicken) and zur balish (large baked pie with potatoes and poultry). The restaurant holds cooking classes. Live music is sometimes performed by the Tatar national groups.

Bell Tower of the Cathedral of the Epiphany has viewing platform offering great views of the city. The bell tower was built in the 19th century with funds donated by banker IS Kirsanov specifically for its construction.. Initially the bell tower was part of a complex formed in the 18th century and comprised of: Church of the Epiphany, the Church of St. Andrew. At 74 meters in height, the red brick and white stone bell tower is the tallest historic building in Kazan.

Kazan Family Center Wedding Hall and Observation Deck

Kazan Family Center(central of Kazan, on the right bank of the Kazanka river across from the Kazan Kremlin) is a grand wedding palace that opened in 2013 with a ceremony featuring 27 marriages to coincide with the opening of the 27th World Summer Universiade.

Surrounded by a large open space, the building was designed too look like an ornament kazan pot but looks more like a fat, ornamental UFO sitting on a pedestal. The palace of weddings has several halls. The interiors of one of them symbolizes the epoch of the Volga Bulgaria; another, the Kazan Khanate period; and a third hall, decorated in classicist style. These three great halls are capable of holding a 100 wedding ceremonies a day. The well-being of the nuptials is guarded by sculpture of the winged Leopards and Zilantes (winged serpents), set outside the palace.

One of the main feature of the “Kazan” Family Center is its 32-meter-high, two-level observation deck. Here visitors can view a delightful panorama to the historic center of Kazan and couples can register their marriage while viewing the Kazan Kremlin, the Kazanka river and the, illuminated Kremlin embankment.

The area around the “Kazan” Family Cente is a multi-level park dotted with greenery and flower beds, benches and walking paths. On the spacious lawn guests organize picnics, play ball or badminton and just relax. Various festivals and concerts are held here. The folk festivals are major attractions and draw many people.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation (official Russia tourism website russiatourism.ru ), Russian government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.

Updated in September 2020

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