Kazan

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Kazan  is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,243,500, it is the sixth most populous city in Russia. Kazan is one of the largest religious, economic, political, scientific, educational, cultural and sports centers in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia, about 715 kilometres (444 mi) east from Moscow. The Kazan Kremlin is a World Heritage Site. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the right to brand itself as the “Third Capital” of Russia. In 2009 it was chosen as the “sports capital of Russia” and it still is referred to as such. In 2011, the European Weightlifting Championships were held here. The city hosted the 2013 Summer Universiade, 2014 World Fencing Championships, the 2015 World Aquatics Championships, and is one of the host cities for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and, for the first time in Russia, the official stage of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship under the auspices of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI). Kazan has also held the World Wushu Championships. In 2018, Kazan became one of the cities where the 2018 FIFA World Cup was held.

In 2015, 2.1 million tourists visited Kazan, a 20% increase in comparison with 2014. 1.5 million tourists visited the Kazan Kremlin in 2015, and one million visited the city’s hotel and entertainment complex with an aquapark called “Kazan Riviera”

Understand : With a population of about 1.3 million (2011 census), a rich history, deep culture and strong economic influence, thus taking the title from Nizhny Novgorod. By many measures, Kazan has one of the highest standards of living in Russia, following after Moscow and St. Petersburg. Kazan has just recently earned the reputation of a sports city, due to its recent investments in this domain. Kazan organized the World Summer Universiade 2013, was a host city for FINA World Aquatics Sports Championship in 2015 and the Confederations Cup of 2017, and is also one for the FIFA World Cup in 2018 in Russia. It is said that one of the World Cup semi-finals may be held in Kazan! Both the World Cup and Universiade events are enhancing 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 KazanState Power Engineering University. Many foreign students study in Kazan, adding diversity to the city’s tolerant. Schools in Kazan, and Tatarstan itself, tend to be ones of the best in Russia.

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 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.

Access : Coordinates:55.796389, 49.108889 / By plane : Kazan International Airport (IATA: KZN) is 30km to the southeast of the city centre. Aeroflot, S7, Transaero and UTAir fly between Kazan and Moscow, and Rossiya Airlines also flies to Kazan from Saint Petersburg. Finnair, Flydubai, Turkish Airlines and Air Baltic, Azal, Air Astana are some of the international carriers flying to Kazan. International travellers may enjoy shorter queues at passport check compared to overcrowded Moscow airports.

Travelers can take taxi to/from the airport, it takes about 25 minutes. Rates to the downtown start at 450 Rubles, it is recommended to use city taxi that can be ordered by phone call or any taxi app (Uber, Yandex.Taxi, Gett etc.). As of January 2016, foreigners may be asked for 1000 Rubles to city center, although with the taxometer it is 500 (to Bauman Street), so use your negotiation skills. To make you arrival more comfortable, there is Tourist Information Office near domestic flights arrival zone. English-speaking friendly personnel will help you to get a taxi, to book a hotel and provide you all the necessary for your trip information completely for free. There is an Aeroexpress train which can take you to Kazan train station from the airport for 40 RUB in 30 minutes. It only goes every 2 hours even during airport peak hours.

By train : Kazan is easy to reach by train, as it is a major station stop for several west-east trains. Depending on the train, travel from Moscow’s Kazan Station can be as short as 11 hours. A direct train from St. Petersburg’s Moscow Station takes 25 hours. Kazan’s railway station (also known as ‘Kazan-1’ is located close to the city center, with several hotels, restaurants, and the Kremlin within walking distance of the train station. Note that the ticketing office is not in the main (historic red brick) building, but in the more modern building with a clock tower next door; as one faces the main building from the street, the ticket office is to the left.

The Vosstanie-Passazhirskaya railway station (also known as ‘Kazan-2’, or ‘Vosstanie Pass’ on timetables) is located in the northern part of Kazan and connected to Severny Vokzal metro station

By boat : Kazan has a riverboat terminal on the Volga River and can be reached by river cruise as well . River cruises down the Volga operate during the summer months (early May to end of September). Dozens of boats operated by different companies run from Moscow to Astrakhan. One way or return cruises may be reserved to/from practically any city along the Volga. Turflot.ru and infoflot.ru are several sites that offer tours.

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:

3 Central bus station , 15 Devyataeva St.(Not very central, but close to the river terminal. You can reach it by trolleybuses 20 and 21 or buses 1, 31, 54 and 83 from Kazan-metro-Logo.svg: Ploschad Tukaya metro station, as well as by bus 53 from the train station. You can also walk here in about 30 min.),  +7 843 2930400. The terminal building is very old, and does not have anything but a ticket office and a small waiting hall. Central bus station is the terminus of most “official” buses. Private (unofficial) buses and minibuses are not using this bus station.
4 Southern bus station , Orenburgskiy lane  207 (is in the southern suburbs of Kazan and basically in the middle of nowhere, 10 min bus ride from Kazan-metro-Logo.svg: Prospekt Pobedy  metro station (take buses 37, 85, 97 and get off at the stop RKB, which means Republican Clinical Hospital  oddly enough, city buses do not stop directly at the intercity bus station)  +7 843 2373323. It is a brand-new bus terminal aimed at removing long-haul buses from the city center. While the bus terminal is there, in the middle of nowhere, and long-distance buses do stop at this terminal, they still continue to the central bus station. Bottom line, don’t go here unless you really need it.
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.

Attractions : 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 :  Once a Tatar fortress, it was largely destroyed by Ivan the Terrible. During the 16th and 17th Centuries, Russians reconstructed the Kremlin with new fortifications and Russian institutions (such as the Annunciation Cathedral). Many of the features of the Kremlin reflect Russian influence of that era, and the construction of the parapets and watchtowers is particularly reminiscent of other dominant Russian cities of the time, such as Pskov and Novgorod. Entry to the Kremlin is through the white clock tower (the Spasskaya Tower) at the end of Bauman Street. Entry costs 300 Rubles with a guided tour, or 20 Rubles to explore the grounds on one’s own. There are several interesting things to see inside the Kremlin, including:
Suyumbike Tower / Kul-Sharif Mosque / Annunciation Cathedral / State Hermitage Museum in Kazan /

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.

Soviet Lifestyle Museum, Ul. Ostrovskaya 39/6 ; Ul. Universitetskaya (A minute’s walk from Ulitsiya Baumana, above, ‘Dublin’ Irish bar.). 10-18. By far Kazan’s most original and eccentric museum. The museum’s curator, Rustem, is an outgoing, friendly, welcoming guy. He is also very knowledgeable about anything related to ‘Soviet’ culture. Entering the museum is like going through a time-machine back to the USSR. Rustem has managed to acquire anything and everything from the “Soviet” period. He is also bubbling with stories and anecdotes of how “then” compares to “now”. Drop by on Sunday afternoons for impromptu Soviet songs jam sessions, complete with guitars, bass, drums, tambourines, bongos, flutes, fog machines and strobe lights. This place is too fun to be named a museum and is interactive in the fullest sense. Well worth the price. A must see if you’re in, or anywhere near, Kazan. Cheap.
The Temple of all Religions – On the outskirts of Kazan. Take bus number 2 from the center. Interesting building for architecture buffs as it features 16 towers dedicated to different religions. The complex was damaged by fire in April 2017, it is under construction but possible to go inside.

Parks
Kyrlay , Ulitsa Odnostoronnyaya Grivka , 1 (North of River Kazanky, near to Kremlevsky Dam, Kazan-metro-Logo.svg: Kozya Sloboda  600m North),  +7 843 5624762. There are a lot of attractions – including a Ferris wheel, from which you can see all of Kazan.
3 Victory Park , Pr. Yamasheva / Ul. Bondarenko  (Kazan-metro-Logo.svg: Kozya Sloboda  and walk one km to east). The park includes a memorial to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War. The Victory Column is 42m high

Theaters
4 Galiaskar Kamal Theatre , Ul. Tatarstan , 1 (Kazan-metro-Logo.svg: Ploshchad Tukaya  further to SE 200m), +7 843 2930374.
5 Drama Theatre , Ulitsa Baumana , 48 (Kazan-metro-Logo.svg: Kremlyovskaya ,  +7 843 2923483.
6 Opera and Ballet Theatre , Ploshchad Svobody , 2 (bus 10, 30, 35, 48, 54, 63, 83, 91, 99? or trolley 7, 17, 19, 20, 21 to stop , the nearest metro station Kazan-metro-Logo.svg: Ploshchad Tukaya  cca. one km),  +7 843 231-57-02.
7 Puppet Theatre , Ulitsa Peterburgskaya , 57 (Kazan-metro-Logo.svg: Sukonnaya Sloboda),  +7 843 2377009

Activities : 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.

List of events to visit:

International opera festival named after Fedor Shalyapin – annually in February.
Russian festival of Folklore “Karavon” – annually in May.
International festival of classic ballet named after Rudolf Nuriev – annually in May.
Summer tatar festival Sabantuy – annually in June.
International handicraft festival “Spasskaya Yarmarka” in Elabuga city – annually in August.
International jazz music festival “Jazz v usadbe Sandetskogo” – annually in August.
International open-air opera festival “Kazanskaya osen” (Kazan autumn) – annually in September or 30th of August. Entrance is free.
Kazan International festival of Muslim cinema – annually in September.
Besides events, from the river station  (close to the bus station) you can take boat trips on the Volga. Two-hour boat trips, without any stops, depart a few times a day (12.00, 15.00 and 19.00 on most days) for 180r. You can also take regular services to different places. To the river station you can take trolleybus 4 or 3 from Koljco (Tukaya sq). There are also various buses from other places; the river station is usually the terminal stop. The walk to the river station from the train station is very nice. Cross the railway tracks at the train station over the eastern bridge and follow the water for 20-30 minutes.

Stay safe : Since the ’70s, Kazan has long the reputation of being one of the least safe cities of Russia. The “Kazan phenomenon” of street gangs even became a journalistic and sociological concept. However, since the late ’90s, the situation has changed fundamentally. Kazan has become a 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 at night.

Go next : The Raifa Monastery 30 miles from Kazan, Ancient city of Bolgar The National Park of Bolgar is one of few historical-architectural complexes left by the Volga Tatars, 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, 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,
Kysh-Babay Residence (Tatar Santa Claus) 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, Chistopol The historic town of Chistopol was founded in the 18th century,Tetushi The pearl of Tetushi is historico-architectural natural park “Dolgaya polyana”,Laishevo When you will plan your visit to Tatarstan, please note, that in the end of May there is a big ethnic festival Karavon.

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