As the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan is a glorious city that represents Russia's Tsarist past. With complex palaces, towering churches, and a thriving cultural scene, Kazan is a pure Russian city with incredible beauty and heart.
As the "Third Capital of Russia," there is plenty to see and to do while staying in Kazan. Visitors can enjoy long walks down the streets of the city, as each of them offers a new arrangement of colors and historic buildings. Kazan is also one of the largest economic, political, scientific and cultural centers of the country.
One of the main attractions is the Kazan Kremlin. Built by Ivan the Terrible on the ruins of the palace of the Kazan Khanate that he destroyed, this white fortress is a beautiful sight in any season. The Kremlin of Kazan reflects not only the ethnic mix of Tatars and Russians that make up this important region of the Russian Federation, but also the combined strength of the region’s two great religions: Islam and Orthodox Christianity.
The magnificent Kul Sharif Mosque, named for Kazan’s last great Imam before Ivan the Terrible invaded and seized the city, is the Kremlin's main jewel. It is the largest Muslim place of worship in Europe, and serves as home to a rich collection of ancient books. As an equally important place of Orthodox worship, the Annunciation Cathedral within Kazan’s Kremlin is an architectural gem completed in 1561, 9 years after the city was conquered. The cathedral is said to have been designed by Postnik Yakovlev, the same architect who was said to be blinded after completing St. Basil’s Cathedral on Moscow’s Red Square.
Today's Kazan appears to be equally strongly tied with its unique mixture of religious beliefs. Philanthropist Ildar Khanov began work on his Temple of All Religions in 1992 near the shores of the Volga River, and this unique building is still under construction. The Temple makes use of religious architecture from all over the world, and has an Orthodox church dome, a minaret, synagogue-like fixtures, and other items representing 16 of the world’s many faiths.
In 2005 Kazan celebrated its millennium jubilee. Despite of such venerable age, the city is growing and dynamically developing in all respects. There are lots of museums, libraries, concert halls and theaters. There is even "Ermitazh-Kazan" Center - the only branch of the famous museum in Saint Petersburg.
A prevailing feature of life in the city is peaceful, creative coexistence of different religions and nationalities. Due to its gorgeous architecture, breathtaking scenery, and welcoming locals, Kazan is the perfect destination for travelers of all ages.