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Kazan

Straddling Asia and Europe, Kazan city amazes. The Orient evokes a mix of fragrances and tastes, Kazan is the right place to sense it. Its name translates to English as cooking pot, and, being there, you are constantly reminded of this culinary appellation by the kaleidoscopic jambalaya of architecture styles, cuisines and cultures. Its minarets peek over the Tsarist and Soviet built residential areas with golden-domed belfries giving even more color and sound to the scenic surroundings. 

Centuries-older then Moscow, Kazan, is an exquisite blend of buildings, stories, and breathtaking vistas washed by two great rivers, the Kama and the Volga, the latter at some points being about 40 km wide.

Since its conquest by the Russians under Ivan the Terrible Russian influence and presence is acutely felt in everything from buildings to food but its Eastern spirit, best felt in the city’s old quarter can’t be mistaken for anything else. Head to Kazan to unveil the Russian Orient on your Kazan trip!

Ten tips to visit Kazan

Kazan Tours

First time in Kazan Tour with Kazan Kremlin visit
Cities:
Kazan
Duration:
4 hours
Tour type:
 
Walking tour of Kazan
Cities:
Kazan
Tour type:
 
Kazan to Sviyazhsk Island Tour
Cities:
Kazan
Duration:
4 hours
Tour type:
 
Kazan Sightseeing Tour by Night
Cities:
Kazan
Duration:
2 hours
Tour type:
 
Kazan to Sviyazhsk Island Tour
Cities:
Kazan
Duration:
4 hours
Tour type:
 

Kazan Travel Tips

Culture and religion in Tatarstan

Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan. Even though about 1.5 million of the Republic of Tatarstan ’s are Russians, the majority are Tatars. Apart from their language, distinct from the Russian and closer to Altaic Turkic and other Turkic tongues, they have their own traditions, values, food, dresses, and religion. 

The Tatars are mostly Muslims. Having been part of the secular Soviet Union throughout the Soviet period they are moderate in their outlook. Thus there is no problem with all genders wearing shorts and other body-revealing articles of clothing during their Kazan trip. Nevertheless certain dress code is to be observed, especially in the mosques, other places of worship, and places such as cemeteries. Contemplate the grandeur of the Kremlin mosque and other Islamic places of worship.

Accommodation in Kazan

Kazan has a wide choice of accommodation. From 5 star hotels, boutique hotels to simpler options such as hostels and Couchsurfings. 

  • Best five-star hotels include: Kazan Palace, Mirage Hotel, SPA Complex Luciano, Hotel Korston Royal Kazan. 
  • Best four star hotels: Double Tree by Hilton, Courtyard by Marriot, Ramada Kazan City Center, and Raymond Hotel. 
  • Apart Hotel on Pushkina 26, Nogai Hotel, Tatarskaya Usadba, and Europa Hotel rate among the best three-star hotels.

There are also boutique hotels such as the Volga House Boutique Hotel. The best ranked hostels are Capsule Hostel Capslock, Geography Hostel, Backpack Hostel, Kupe Hostel and Wings Hostel.

As tips for independent travelers, we can suggest using platforms such as Booking and Agoda, where discounts can be found. Also pay attention to options such websites as Couchsurfing and Airbnb, they can be good value. Note that booking hotels in Russia can be easy using the travel services of Russian tour operator Pradiz.

How to visit Kazan

You can fly to Kazan from out of Russia just as from inside Russian, for example from Moscow, it takes 1 hour 35 minutes to fly to Kazan, whilst from  St. Petersburg, it will take a bit more than two hours. Also possible to visit Kazan by boat, that is by taking a cruise along the Volga, either from large cities standing on the Volga such as N. Novgorod, or Moscow. 

Kazan sits on one of the country’s most important railway lines so it is possible to reach by train from almost everywhere in Russia. A fast train from Moscow will be launched in future. Other options, such as travelling by car, are also available. For all additional info contact Pradiz, a Travel Agency in Russia.

What to do in Kazan

Kazan tourism industry is prospering due to the abundance of significant historical sites.

The Kazan Russia points of interest include:

  • Old Tatar
  • The Kremlin
  • Kul Sharif Mosque
  • The Kremlin Embankment
  • The Lenin park
  • Bauman Street
  • Temple of all Religions 

Old Tatar

This assortment of historical wooden buildings done out in Tatar style, is said to date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and indicates the area to which Tatars were confined in the aftermath of the conquest of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible in mid 16th century. Even though the appearance has substantially changed over the centuries past, it is still pervaded with local Oriental charm, and quite a few dwellings still provide an insight into what Tatar architecture is. The most significant structure here is the Mardzhani Mosque (located at ul Kayuma Nasyri 17), tracing its history to 1767. It was the first stone mosque to be erected within the city boundaries.

The Kazan Kremlin

Seat of the republic government, The Kremlin is strewn with museums and pieces of cultural heritage. Its green areas provide shade in abundance during hot summer days. It gives onto the majestic mighty Volga and is one of the symbol’s of Tatarstan uniqueness, housing both Islamic and Christian holy places. Its gigantic Kul Sharif mosques sits near the picturesque blue-domed Annunciation Cathedral built in the Old Russian style. 

Other highlights include the Hermitage Kazan Gallery, and the Tatarstan Museum of Natural History. Parts of the fortress’s walls date back to the 16th and 17th century, while the locale itself traces its origins to the seizure of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible. It was built on the grounds of the former residence of Kazan Khans, the former overlords of the Kazan Khanate.

 

Kul Sharif Mosque Kazan

The construction of The Kul Sharif Mosque was finished only in 2005.

It gets its name from the imam who fell repelling an attack by the Moscovite army of Ivan the Terrible in 1552, which led to the loss of the Tatar independence.

The museum within its walls narrates the story of the Muslim faith particularly in the Volga basin, and includes handwritten texts, articles of furniture and Tatar women’s garments.

 

Kazan Embankment

The scenic Kremlin embankment is a walkway along the city’s beautiful river. The promenade extends from the walls of the Kremlin fortress to the Kazan National Cultural Centre. The prom is split into two stretches. One is for pedestrian use only and the other is consecrated to recreational activities. In summer the latter is used for cycling, skating and other outdoor activities whilst in winter, it is home to Europe’s longest ice-rink, along with many winter fairs, New Year’s shows, and many more. The rental stations are situated right there. From the riverside you can gaze at the splendid Kremlin or if in not in a contemplating mood, do some work-outs, at the embankment’s sports facilities. In short, you will always find things to do in Kazan if you start with the embankment.

 

The Lenin Park Kazan

Located near bus-station, it is one of the city’s most tranquil pieces of greenery. The park is small but is agreeable to walk in. It may be appealing to a newcomer for it gives a strong sense of the Russian periphery with its quite and secluded alleys.

It is especially picturesque under out-of-season snow, covering the leafy trees.

 

Bauman Street Kazan

Connecting the Kremlin with the city’s main piazza, Tukay Square, it is Kazan’s main walking street. It is the center of the dynamic urban life and is famed for its night and eating establishments, shops and centrally located accommodation.

It is lined with beauteous old buildings which give you a feeling of being at the Russian orient, for despite the genuinely Russian exterior of the houses, everything is exuding the romance of the Central Asia.

Russian Temple of all Religions in Kazan

The quintessence of eclecticism it is a strong rival to the Vietnamese Divine Temple at Tay Ninh, where Victor Hugo share sainthood with Confucious and many others. The Temple of All Religions’ somewhat out-of-town location, 10km northwest of Kazan overlooking Volga, renders it an even more spectacular sight. Even though still uncompleted, the brainchild of Ildar Khanov is a testimony to the Republic of Tatarstan’s open-mindedness and acceptance of all new, however foreign. The truly cosmopolitan place of worship shines in shades from soft green to yellow, its domes looking like generous spiral ice creams.

Sum-up

Visit Kazan to explore the land where Russian civilization meets that of the nomads and sedentary tribes of the Steppe, the descendants of bellicose Chingizids. Here the vast expanses of the flat unforested grasslands coexist with seemingly boundless expanses of Russia’s great rivers, and hospitality is expressed through copious meals, passionate dances and expansive talks. 

Kazan may be one of the add-ons on your Multi-day foreign tours to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Kazan tours are one of the most in-demand sightseeing trips and multi-day tours in Russia by Russian Tour Operator Pradiz.