Kazan is one of Russia’s oldest cities, located on the Volga River, 820 km away from Moscow. It is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan and the fifth largest city in Russia with a population of over 1.2 million residents. Over half of the population are tatars. Russian and Tatar are the two official languages of the region.
There are many legends about the origin of the name of the city. The most popular one says the following: once the Bulgars (ancestors of the Tatars) began to choose a place to build their city. And one magician told them that it should be there where the kettle (kazan) would boil without fire. Such a place was found near the island Kaban. The name “Kazan” is made from the word “kettle”.
Ancient Kazan was founded in the late 13th century by the Golden Horde. In 1438 Kazan became the capital of the Khanate of Kazan. In 1552 Kazan was captured by Ivan the Terrible and became a part of Russia.
Main attractions of Kazan:
The Kazan Kremlin is the main attraction of the city, the oldest part of Kazan. It is a complex of architectural, historical, and archaeological monuments of the 12th-20th centuries. The residence of the Head of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Government of Tatarstan are located here.
Kul-Sharif Mosque – the main mosque of Tatarstan, Syuyumbike Tower – one of the main architectural symbols of Kazan, are located on the territory of the Kazan Kremlin.
Bauman Street – the main pedestrian street of Kazan. You can find here lots of historical buildings, monuments, museums and countless cafes where you can taste national dishes and drinks.
Epiphany Cathedral on Bauman Street. The main attraction of this church is its magnificent tall bell tower (74 meters high) built in Russian Baroque style. From the top of it you can have a nice city view.
The Old Tatar Sloboda – one of the historic districts of Kazan.
Chak-Chak Museum is dedicated to the main Tatar dessert and one of the symbols of Tatarstan.
St Peter and Paul Cathedral is a nice example of Russian Baroque style. It is known for its 7-tier gilded iconostasis and rich history.
It should not go unspoken about the Tatar National Cuisine. Here is a short list of national dishes:
– Echpochmak (triangles) is a pie with meat and potatoes;
– Chuck-Chuck is a sweet made from dough with honey;
– Gubadia is a sweet cake with rice, egg, courts (dry cheese), raisins, dried apricots and prunes.