With a history that is centuries old, Kazan is a city that blends Oriental and Russian cultures. It was founded in the 13th century by the Mongols (Tatars) of the Golden Horde and was later almost burnt down when Ivan the Terrible declared war on the city. However, a resurgence of the Tatar culture was seen during the reign of Catherine the Great when mosques and other buildings were permitted to be built in the city.
Although we have heard so much about Moscow and St. Petersburg, Kazan, on the other hand, is relatively unknown. So here are 5 convincing reasons on why you should plan a trip to the third capital of Russia.
- One of Europe’s largest mosque is in this city
Being one of the most Instagrammable spots in Kazan, this blue-domed mosque was known to be the largest mosque in Europe in the 16th century. The Kul Sharif mosque was later destroyed when Ivan the Terrible took control of the city but was fortunately restored in 2005. The mosque also contains the Museum of Islamic Culture that represents the Islamic history and culture of the Tatars and Muslims of the Volga region.
- It has a Temple of All Religions
Founded by the architect Ildar Khanov in 1992, this unconventional structure intends to honor and bring all the world’s major religions under one roof. The concept of this landmark is to promote coexistence, harmony and tolerance between the religions that exist in the world today. Donning a colorful and an exquisite architectural style, this temple includes an Orthodox church, a mosque, a synagogue and buildings representing other religions.
- It is the sports capital of Russia
Not only has Kazan hosted several FIFA World Cup matches in 2018, but it has also organized many other world-class sports events such as the European Weightlifting Championships, 2014 World Fencing Championships, 2015 World Aquatics Championships and the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Soccer fans should visit the Kazan Arena which has the largest screen in the world and has hosted several football matches.
- The right place to try Tatar Cuisine
The Tatars have a very rich culinary tradition, so trying their authentic dishes is definitely a must and Kazan is just the place for it. Fortunately, finding good halal options is not difficult as Islam is one of the main religions of the Republic of Tatarstan. Their famous Baumana Street is a great place to explore as it is home to a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants.
- It is a peaceful city
Amidst all the entertainment and activities one can find in Kazan, the city has a sense of tranquility and calmness to it, a contrast to the buzzing life of Moscow. In fact, Dolgaya Polyana is known for its healing powers as even the Khans of the ancient Bolgars used to visit this site to recharge themselves. Clearly, this place is a bliss for tourists wanting to relax and recover their peace of mind while on holidays!
So folks, isn’t Kazan the ideal place to spend your holidays?