Kazan

Kazan (Russian: Каза́нь kuh-ZAHN) is the capital of Russia's republic of Tatarstan and the center of the world Tatar culture.

Kul-Sharif Mosque

Understand

With a population of about 1.3 million (2011 census), rich history, deep culture and strong economic influence, Kazan holds the title of "The Third Capital of Russia" (after Moscow and Saint Petersburg), taking this title from the competing Nizhny Novgorod. By many measures, Kazan has the one of the highest standards of living in Russia, only after Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Kazan has recently earned the reputation of a sports city, due to its recent investments in this domain. Kazan held the Universiade 2013, and will be a host city in the FIFA World Cup in 2018 in Russia. Possibly one of the World Cup semi-finals will be held in Kazan! Both the World Cup and Universiade events are fueling the city's booming construction. In the last couple of years, sport venues have popped up in Tatar capital, together with residential buildings and offices. Many of Kazan's professional teams, such as Rubin (football) or Ak Bars (hockey), have been recent Russia champions.

Kazan has long been a focal point of higher education in Russia. It remains a university city, with some of Russia's top universities including Kazan Federal University (KFU - formerly Kazan State University, TGGPU and the Kazan Finance Institute), Kazan State Technological University (KGTU), Kazan State Technical University (KAI), and "Energa" University. Many foreign students study in Kazan, adding color to the city's tolerant and diverse population. Schools in Kazan, and wider Tatarstan, tend to be some of Russia's best.

Located between Europe and Asia, having both Russian and Tatar populations, Kazan peacefully blends Muslim and Christian cultures. There are also many other religions represented in Kazan. For example, in the city center there are is a synagogue and new catholic church. This vibrant city with over 1000 years of history is an excellent travel destination, and the number of tourists visiting is rapidly increasing every year.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) -8.2 -7.2 -0.6 9.8 18.9 23.5 25.0 22.4 15.8 7.2 -1.5 -5.7
Nightly lows (°C) -14.9 -14 -7.9 1.4 7.9 13.1 15.0 12.8 7.6 1.4 -6.3 -11.6
Precipitation (mm) 35 30 25 34 38 70 66 59 55 54 44 38

Average of Kazan

Get in

By plane

The airport in Kazan (IATA: KZN) serves many cities in Russia and operates charter flights to destinations like Turkey and Egypt, Thailand, India, Spain, UAE. Aeroflot, S7, Transaero and UTAir fly between Kazan and Moscow, and Rossiya Airlines also flies to Kazan from Saint Petersburg. The summer schedule has seen a number of local flights to Samara, Saransk, Penza, and other cities of the Volga Region. However, these flights are likely to be sporadic and may be interrupted at any time. Turkish Airlines is the only international carrier that currently has scheduled flights to Kazan. That said, flights to Western Europe are very scarce, while any Asian destination should be reached via Istanbul. Flight information: +7(843)267-88-07.

As of 2013, all flights depart from the brand-new terminal 1A equipped with cafes and free wireless connection. A reasonably priced Polyot hotel (+7(843)267-87-05, 254-01-12) is within walking distance from the terminal building.

The airport is southeast of the city and quite far from the city center. It is served by Aeroexpress trains that depart from the main station (Kazan-1) with a 2 h interval. Travel time is 20 min, the 2nd class ticket costs 200 rubles (2013). A taxi from the train station to the airport takes about 60–90 minutes and starts from 600 rubles (when ordered in advance), although it may run well above 1000 rubles when you hail a random cab at the terminal and refrain from bargaining. To avoid traffic jams that are common during rush hours, there is an Aeroexpress train which between Kazan train station and airport for 200 RUB in 20 minutesit. You can also take taxi to the nearest metro station (Prospekt Pobedy), which is only 15 min from the city center, and continue by public transport. Alternatively, reach this metro station in about 40 min with bus 97 that runs on a somewhat irregular schedule between 5:30 and 18:00 with 30-40 min intervals.

Kazan train station

By train

Kazan has two major train stations:

For a cheap and quick food, try Dobraya Stolovaya (self-service cafereria with ridiculously low prices) or buy a snack from one of the food kiosks. You can also stock up in the Bakhetle supermarket located on the ground floor of the TsUM mall northeast of the train station. This is also your way to the city center and Kremlin. Kremlevskaya metro station is only 10 minutes walk from the train terminal.

Kazan has good train connections to Moscow (2-3 overnight trains, 11–13 hours) and Saint-Petersburg (daily train, 22 hours). One of the Moscow trains is firmenniy, dubbed Tatarstan, with fancy new cars and Tatar-style on-board restaurant. From Moscow, you can also take long-haul trains to Ekaterinburg and Siberian destinations, although check that they pass through Kazan. Many of these trains follow the northern route via Kirov. Short-distance connections are less frequent. Cities like Izhevsk and Ulyanovsk are served at least twice daily (5–6 hours), and there is a suburban train to Yoshkar-Ola (3.5 hours).

By bus

Arriving in Kazan by bus is somewhat less common, unless you travel within Tatarstan, where buses and minibuses are by far the main mode of transportation. When coming by bus, you may find yourself at one of the two city's bus stations:

However, these bus station cater to less than half of bus traffic. Most routes are nowadays served by private-run ("unofficial") buses and minibuses that may terminate in different places, for example, at the train station (Kazan-1), at ploschad Tukaya, at Sovetskaya Sq. in the eastern part of Kazan, etc. The system is haphazard and impossible to track. If you arrive by bus, you will mostly likely find yourself at the train station, which is more or less in the city center. When you leave the city, check where the buses to your destination depart from.

By boat

Port of Kazan

Although not very active, the boat traffic in the vicinity of Kazan is the only local boat service in the whole Volga region. Hydrofoils sail to Bolgar twice daily and additionally serve a number of small boroughs on the western bank of the river. Slow boats to Sviyazhsk are also available. But the most frequent boat connection to/from Kazan is the shuttle to Verkhny Uslon village on the opposite side of the river (see Go Next section). Navigation starts beginning of May and ends in late September or early October. A large number of cruise boats pass through Kazan or even terminate here. One-way or return cruises may be reserved to/from practically any city along the Volga. Check Turflot and infoflot for information about these tours.

Get around

Much of the city center is walkable, and the main attractions for tourists (the Kremlin and Bauman Street) are only for pedestrian traffic. Public buses are abundant and cheap, but one must have some knowledge of Russian to read the signs or ask where the buses are headed. Bus system maps are apparently hard to come by. Taxis are available and operate mostly an on-call service, rather than plying the streets for fares. They also congregate at a few taxi stands in predictable places such as the train station. A Metro system is being developed, with ten stations on the red line in operation as of early 2013, running between Avivastroitelnaya and Prospekt Pobedy. A free map is distributed at the reception of hotels.

Kazan Metro Stations

From North to South

See

Kazan celebrated its 1000-year anniversary in 2005, for which the city got a major facelift. Visitors today will be able to see many of the reconstructed or newly constructed sites from the anniversary celebration.

Kazan Kremlin

Museums

Suyumbike Tower

Do

Kazan offers a lot of various events you can visit during your stay here - international opera and ballet festival, different types of music festivals, popular singers concerts and many other interesting things to do.Cirque du Soleil regurlary brings its shows to Kazan. And a must-see event in Tatarstan is a national holiday Sabantuy - tatar summer festival, which is celebrated in the beginning of June.

In summer 2013 four double-decker buses began circulating along their routes in Kazan by "City Sightseeing" company. Tourists will ride on them through the city's downtown and see the main attractions, historical landmarks, and architectural beauties of Tatarstan's capital with their own eyes, and not merely see them, but also learn many interesting things about them. The two-level tour buses have been equipped with an audio guide. The audio recording designed to acquaint guests will the city functions in eight languages: Russian, Tatar, English, French, Spanish, German, Turkish, and Chinese.

Bauman Street. The pedestrian zone that stretches between the Kremlin and Tokai Square and the Hotel Tatarstan. This is Kazan's Arbat, with boutiques, souvenir shops and kiosks, cafes, bars, and plenty of opportunities for people-watching. The statuary (such as a bronze carriage) is especially interesting.

Events

Parks

View of the Moskovskiy District

Theaters

Buy

Souvenirs from Kazan reflects Tatar culture and ethnic colour. You can buy items with national ornaments and scenes from tatar folk tales, mosque figurines and many others.

The most popular souvenir, that each tourist want to buy, is tatar national male headwear "Tubeteika".

Tatar national handicrafts is especially known for its unique leather art and tanning. This kind of very soft, yet long wearing leather called "safyan". Using ancient technologies, craftsmen make amazing items from leather - shoes, bags, slippers, keyfob etc.

Shopping and entertainment centers you can visit are:

Eat

Self-caterers can find a large supermarket (one of the Bakhetle chain) in the TsUM building across from the Mirage Hotel. The bakery across from the Milena Hotel on Tazi Gizzata Street has excellent bread and a few groceries.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Coffee

Bars

Clubs

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Since the '70s, Kazan has long the reputation of being one of the least safe city of Russia. The "Kazan phenomenon" of street gangs even became a journalistic and sociological concept. However, since the late '90s, situation change fundamentally. Kazan has become host city for a lot of large international events. As a result there was a modernization of police, so crime rate decreased significantly. For example, during WORLD SUMMER UNIVERSIADE in 2013, a lot of citizens and guests shared their impressions, that they felt safe like never before, even walking in the city centre in the night.

Connect

Internet cafes and restaurants with WiFi are found throughout the city. Probably the most useful internet cafe for travelers is a small one across from the train station. From the main station building, cross through the park and cross the main street. It is at the corner to one's left, but hidden behind a newspaper stand and some kiosks.

The post office in Kremlyovskaya St. has seven computers with internet access, for around 36 rub./hour. Pay in advance at the register. Your unspent minutes will be refunded.

Tattelecom on the corner of Baumana and Pushkina, opposite the Koljco mall, has computers with ok Internet for 48 r per hour. Up Pushkina there are a few cafes and restaurants with free unprotected wifi. Also, outside of the Subway restaurant further up on Pushkina there is free unprotected wifi. Mcdonalds also has free wifi (on Baumana and by the train station).

Consulates

Visa Centers

Go next

The Raifa Monastery In 30 miles from Kazan, on the shore of a beautiful lake, in the middle of the forest, behind a white granite wall, in the center of a great National Park you will find one of the pearls of 17th century Russian architecture: the Raifa Bogoroditsky Monastery. The greatest object of this monastery is the Georgian Mother of God icon, which in its day was venerated as a miraculous object with the power to heal the sick. Today the Raifa Monastery is among the most-visited in the world. The grounds of the monastery are located within the Volga-Kama National Park, where the terrain is a combination of southern taiga and deciduous forests. The park's botanical garden features more than 400 species of exotic plants from North America, Asia and Europe

Ancient city of Bolgar The National Park of Bolgar is one of few historical-architectural complexes left by the Volga Tatars. It is located on the bank of the Volga 120 km away from Kazan. Bolgar is related with the such names as Pushkin, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Kul Gali and many other famous people. It is a sacred place for all Tatars, a place of pilgrimage for Muslims, and a place generally steeped in legend and history. The National Park of Bolgar is an object of historical and cultural significance. In 1998 the Bolgar Historical-Architectural Complex was included in the provisional list of UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Russian Federation. In National Park of Bolgar you can visit Museum of Bakery, museum of archaeology, monuments of Islamic architecture from the 13th-14th centuries.

Island-town Sviyazhsk The place where the Sviyaga River flows into the Volga forms the idea for Push¬kin's lively tale of the Island of Buyan. Sviyazhsk was built by Ivan theTerrible as a fortress for the siege of Kazan, and it went on to become the first Orthodox Christian city in our area, the center of the spread of Christianity. The island also became home to the Uspensky monastery and the Ioanno-Predtechensky nunnery. The architectural composition of today's Sviyazhsk includes perfectly preserved churches, such as the antique wooden Troitskaya Church (built in 1551), Nikols¬kaya Church, and Uspensky Cathedral. When Alexander Pushkin first saw Sviyazhsk, he was overjoyed. It seems the city was exactly what he imagined for an ideal fairytale setting: beautiful island on a tall mountain, located exactly in the middle of a great river. This island with its surprising history cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Elabuga This charming 1000 year old trade center that located on the shore of the river Kama and surrounded by natural beauty is one of the oldest cities in Tatarstan. Throughout its history the city was the cradle of Russian trade, where diverse waves of remarkable people flowed together. Most of its buildings have been preserved in their original condition to this day. Examples include the memorial house museum of Ivan Shishkin and the homestead museum of N. Durova, a famous heroine of the Fatherland War of 1812. Tragic circumstances led the city to become the last refuge of the poet Maria Tsvetaeva. Not far from the Elabuga is the famous Elabuga mound “Chertovo gorodishe” - the remains of a fortified settlement from the Volga tribes of the first millennium В.C. The surviving stone tower is a symbol of Elabuga. On the banks of the river Toima, five kilometers from Elabuga, archaeologists discovered the Ananinsky burial ground, which lends its name to an entire Iron Age culture.

Kysh-Babay Residence (Tatar Santa Clause) The residences of Kysh Babay and Kar Kyzy are located in the village of Yana Kyrlay, in a pine forest on the bank of the river Iya, 60 kilometers from Kazan. The fairytale journey begins with the forest ”customs” where Shaitan leads you into the estate of Kysh Babay. The map of Shurale leads guests to path filled with adventures. Among the tales, mysteries, miracles, and fairytale characters you will meet Shurale (the Wood goblin), Shaitan (the Devil), Uburly Karchyk (the Witch), Azhdaha (the Dragon), Batyr (the Kinught), Altynchech (Goldilocks), Tahir and Zuhra (Romeo and Juliet).

Chistopol The historic town of Chistopol was founded in the 18th century. This town is truly a living museum, with streets and buildings that preserve the spirit of past days. A walk around Chistopol introduces you to the quiet, very special beauty of the Russian countryside. The Melnikov House, the grounds of Uspensky Monastery, St. Nicholas Cathedral - these places all enhance the feeling that the city was built with care and love. You can find very interesting Boris Pasternak museum here. A few kilometers from Chistopol you'll find the remains of Juketau, a city of the ancient Bolgar Kingdom which served as a trade center during pre-Mongol period.

Tetushi The pearl of Tetushi is historico-architectural natural park “Dolgaya polyana”. Tourists visited this place say that you feel peace and calm. Local people claim there is anomalous zone with positive energy. Even Khans of Ancient Bolgar used to come to this place for several days to recover peace of mind. There are a lot of old buildings, dated from 1700th. You can even be lucky to see real archaeological excavation! And of course you can enjoy beautiful and splendid nature of Tetushi. Fond of historical reconstructions? Then summer reconstruction of battlefield on Vshiha mountain is definitely worth visiting! You can not only watch, but also participate!

Laishevo When you will plan your visit to Tatarstan, please note, that in the end of May there is a big ethnic festival Karavon. For nine years annually more than 10 thousand people come to take part. And according to legend, this festival exists more than 300 years! Here you can dance in a round, have a look at the town of craftsman, take part in national amusements and feel cheerful and holiday atmosphere among wearing national costumes people. This festival is definitely worth seeing!

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