Welcome to Kazan

Popularly referred to as Russia’s third capital, Kazan is the city – according to their official slogan – “Where Europe meets Asia”. Some have also dubbed it the “Istanbul of the Volga”. It is about 150 years older than Moscow and the capital of the Tatarstan Republic – the land of the Volga Tatars, a Turkic people commonly associated with Chinggis (Genghis) Khaan’s hordes. As the capital of Tatarstan, Kazan mixes a rich Muslim Tatar culture – with its own language and government – with Western Slavic influences and is famous for being a particularly religiously tolerant and friendly city.

The pride of Kazan is its impressive Kremlin, which boasts both the vast, colorful Kul Sharif Mosque and the blue-and-gold domed Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral and in recent years the whole city has been beautified and restored in preparation for the Olympiad – the international student Olympics - which was held here in 2013. For those looking to see where European and Asian Russia meet and enjoy a glimpse into one of the country’s most vibrant non-Slavic republics, there’s probably no better starting point than Kazan.

If you want to know how to pack, Kazan has a humid continental climate with long, cold winters (colder than Moscow), and warm, often dry summers. Aside from the football and the rich history, Kazan boasts the largest IT-park in Russia (also one of the largest of its kind in Eastern Europe) and, curiously, the shortest metro in the world (the way from one side to another is just 10 stations and will take you only 10 minutes). Tatarstan is also famous for having chak-chak (fried honey cake) as the main part of ethnic cuisine. The biggest 1000-kilogram chak-chak was made by 20 cookery experts for the celebration of 1000 anniversary of Kazan in 2005.
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