Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan on the junction of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers about 500 miles south-east of Moscow. Founded circa 1005 AD, it later served as the capital of the Kazan Khanate.


t is an ancient city filled with magnificent buildings, monuments, boulevards and many other incredibly beautiful sights to see. In fact, Kazan is divided into two distinct parts : the upper town with the Kremlin, where the Russian gentry, merchants and craftsmen lived, and the lower town , the Old Tatar and new Tatar settlements, where Tatar tradesmen, merchants and even peasants lived, since cultivated fields extended to the very edge of the lower town.

Kremlin – The city has a beautiful citadel which was declared the World Heritage Site in 2000. Major monuments in the kremlin are the 5-domed 6-columned Annunciation Cathedral (1561-62) and the mysterious leaning Soyembika Tower, named after the last queen of Kazan and regarded as the city’s most conspicuous landmark. Also of interest are the towers and walls, erected in the 16th and 17th centuries but later reconstructed; the Qol-Sarif mosque, which is already rebuilt inside the citadel remains of the Saviour Monastery (its splendid 16th-century cathedral having been demolished by the Bolsheviks) with the Spasskaya Tower; and the Governor’s House (1843-53), designed by Konstantin Thon, now the Palace of the President of Tatarstan. Next door, the ornate baroque Sts-Peter-and-Paul’s Cathedral on Qawi Nacmi Street and Marcani mosque on Qayum Nasiri Street date back to the 18th century.

In the cultural sense, Kazan always struck a balance between Europe and Asia: the life-style of a provincial capital combined with the traditional mode of existence, resulted in a fascinating synthesis unique to Kazan.

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