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Tourism in Russia > Tatarstan > Kazan


Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, is a unique ancient city combining two major cultures - Tatar and Russian. In 2005, Kazan celebrated its 1000th anniversary. Kazan is a diverse and multifaceted tourist destination. Its cultural and historical landmarks - such as the Kazan Kremlin, now under the aegis of UNESCO, 759 historical and cultural monuments protected by the state, numerous museums, sports and cultural centres, etc. - are the basis for all-year cultural tourism highlighting Kazan as a place where the West meets the East. Multitudes of ships arrive in Kazan by the Volga River during navigation seasons, and abundant minor rivers and lakes make the town a small Venice.

Kazan is a fast-changing city. Those who visited it some five years ago would be surprised to see numerous improvements including new and comfortable streets, cosy cafes and shopping complexes. The Pyramid, an ultramodern entertainment centre of glass with everything needed for proper rest and recreation, has grown near the Kazan Kremlin. Near the Pyramid is the luxury hotel Mirage. Other places of interest include newly built Shalyapin Palace Hotel, Suleiman Palace Hotel, Korston Hotel & Mall, Basket Hall Sports Palace for 7500 persons, Ice Arena and one of Russia's largest water parks, Riviera. The modern and scenic amusement park Kyrlai is located in the heart of the city, near the Kremlin traffic dam.

The world-class mountain skiing resort Kazan has been built at the confluence of the Sviyaga and Volga rivers on the picturesque hills of Verkhny Uslon some 35 km from Kazan. A splendid view of the island town of Sviyazhsk, chair lifts between the heights of 160 m and 200 m and a golf course guarantee a perfect rest for any visitor. A ski station with a ski and snowboard hire desk, a sports shop, a restaurant, a parking lot, tourist cottages and a children's village will contribute to your comfort.

Every year, Kazan hosts the Shalyapin Opera Festival and the Nuriev Ballet Festival, and thousands of Russian and foreign fans gather for sports events with the participation of Ak Bars hockey team, Unix Basketball Club and Rubin Football Club. All these entertainments make Kazan the perfect tourist attraction for both music and sports lovers.

If you arrive in Kazan by train, the city and its hospitality opens up before your eyes the train station is located in the very center of the city. First to appear are the cathedrals of the Zilantov Monastery and the panorama of the Kazanka River, then the white walls of the Kremlin will be visible on high on the hill, and out over the ramparts will peek the minarets of its mosque and cupolas of its churches.

Indeed the thousand-year old city of Kazan is interesting first of all for its architectural monuments. The historic downtown displays a harmonious alternation of styles, in which Russian and Tatar buildings stand peacefully side-by-side. The districts of the city are well developed with modern parks and entertainment centers of Euro pean caliber, sports complexes and large shopping centers.

The primary landmark of Kazan is its fortress, the Kazan Kremlin, built upon the capture of Kazan by Russian forces in 1553. The largest mosque in Europe, Kul Sharif, is located in the Kremlin. Looking out from its walls, one has picturesque view of the Volga at its confluence with the Kazanka River and of the Cathedral of the Holy Mandylion, better known as the Monument to the Fallen in the Capture of Kazan, erected on an island in the Kazanka. Here too one can see a modern landmark of Kazan the entertainment complex “Pyramid , built in the style of high tech .

In the very heart of the city is Kazan's answer to Moscow's Arbat, Bauman Street, on which stands Theophany (Bogoyavlensky) Ca- thedral. It was here in the cathedral that the Kazan native and great opera singer Fyodor Shalyapin was baptized. The street is graced with the cathedral s fantastically tall bell tower. Six bridges across the Bulak canal lead to Bauman Street, each bearing its own name and its own story. In the centuries their names and pavement have changed, but to this day they serve as vital links in the transporta- tion infrastructure.

If you walk up one of the steep streets from Bauman, such as Astrono micheskaya, you will reach ul. Kremlyovskaya and Kazan University, one of the oldest and largest universities in Russia. The street is home to some of Kazan's most beautiful buildings: the National Library, Alexander Passage, National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan. While enjoying these sights, it's worth turning down Musa Dzhalil Street and taking a closer look at the Peter-Paul Cathedral, which will probably have already caught your eye from afar.

And if you descend the other direction from Bauman Street to the Bu- lak, then walk along it to Lake Kaban, you'll find yourself amidst the oriental color of the Old Tatar Settlement. The district took its current form in the latter half of the nineteenth century, with the construc tion of the Cathedral, Azimov, Apanaev, and Marjani mosques.

Kazan is constantly changing and renewing itself; this is a city that is worth visiting again and again, ever full of hospitality.

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