Kazan, The Capital City of Tatarstan
I have visited many countries before but it is my first time in Russia. I have planned that many times but had never a chance. When I decided to go to Russia for a birthday of my friend, I completed the visa process very quickly. After that plane shooting incident, Russia now unilaterally demands a visa. You can get your visa in just 2 days.
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I wrote detailed information about the visa in the Visa Guide section. If you want to get a visa for Russia, you can take a look at it. After completing visa process, I buy my ticket for İstanbul – Nizhy Novgorod route, a new route of Pegasus Airlines, and get on my way. I arrived at the airport in the morning. I got on to the taxi that my friend sent to me and went to the city center which was very far away. After spending some time in the city, I decide to go directly to Kazan, the capital city of Tatarstan, which I wanted to visit very much. You can go to Kazan from Nizhy Novgorod by taking the wagon lit which departs every night. Since I bought my ticket for wagon lit, I arrive Kazan at 06:30 after a nice sleep.
Since it is early morning, everywhere is closed and no one is near. First, I go to Bauman Avenue, the most famous avenue in the city. There is a McDonald’s which is open for 24 hours. After having breakfast at MC Cafe, I go to the cathedral on the other end of the street. It may be a mistake to call here a cathedral. It is like a castle now. I am told that no entry is allowed and it was closed during my visit. I am not sure about that. Just behind the cathedral, there is a beautiful church. But unfortunately, inside of the church is not much beautiful like the outside of it.
As the time passed by, the avenue got a little bit more lively. The shops are being opened and people are in a hurry. There is a bronze statue of Alabris, the famous cat of Kazan, and a bronze state carriage In Bauman Avenue. There is a reason why Alabris cat is so famous.
Yelizaveta Petrovra, the czarina of the Czarist Russia (1741-1762) and the daughter of Petro and Katerina, who visited Kazan in 1745 saw that there are no mice in Kazan. During that period, the strong, big and short-tailed tomcats which are good at catching mice were popular. After the czarina left Kazan, she heard that the famous Winter Palace in St. Petersburg which was under construction at that time was invaded by mice. By the order of the czarina, thirty tomcats were sent to Petersburg from Kazan. Those cats were so successful against the mice. Therefore those Kazan cats which were called “Alabris” during 17th and 18th centuries have been very popular.
On the other end of the street is Qolşärif Mosque which is the symbol of the Kazan city. After a short walk, I found myself in front of Kazan‘s Kremlin. There is the statue of Musa Celil in front of the entrance gate. He is a folk hero who died during World War II. When you enter, you feel like you are in a different place. It is a clean and tidy place. There are Museum Building, Qolşärif Mosque, Virgin Mary’s Evangel Church, Tatarstan Government Building in Kazan’s Kremlin. There is also Süyüm Bike (Sevim Sultan) Tower which is leaning like Pisa Tower.
Süyüm Bike is the wife of Kazan khan Sefa Geray. When Sefa Geray died, she acceded at the people’s request, since her son was too young to do that (1549). When Ivan Gazanıy (Scary Ivan) took over Kazan, he wanted to marry her. And Süyüm Bike said that she would accept his proposal, if he could build a tower in 7 days. When the 7 floor tower was built in 7 days, it was seen that the tower is leaning. When Süyüm Bike visited the tower, she jumped from the top of it to her death. This 53 meter high tower which was made of red bricks was built on the highest point of the city in which the Kazan Castle also located. Just across the tower, there is a wonderful mosque which became the symbol of Kazan.
It is one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. That mosque which was ruined by Russian tsar Scary Ivan about 500 years ago, was rebuilt in 10 years at the same place after a 10 years long construction and it became the biggest mosque in Russia. The cost of that was 14 millions dollars and it was constructed on a 19 decare field. It is one of the biggest mosques in Europe. When Scary Ivan took over Kazan city, he killed Qolşärif and his students. In 1996, it was rebuilt with a fascinating architecture and it was named as Qolşärif Mosque. The Koran is constantly being read in the first floor of the mosque. You have to climb to upper floor in order to pray.
After touring Kazan cathedral, I decide to go to big Auqapark in the city, since the weather is very hot. You can read the details about Aquapark. After spending a few hours in Aquapark, my next stop is Kazan Wedding Hall which is also a symbol of the city. That building is in a sphere shape and is just by the Kazan River. There is an observation deck at the roof. You have to pay 100 Rubles, if you want to go up there. After having a rest and flying a drone in the park, I walk on the bridge above Kazan River and go across.
Kremlin Embarkment is just across the river. In the field by the river, there are many cafes, play grounds, bicycle and skate tracks and sport fields. It becomes a very glittering place at nights.
And just in front of it, there is a big park and a beautiful government building. There is a big tree in te middle of it. You can take nice pictures there at nights. Unfortunately, it is impossible to have a rest in the park. There are huge mosquitos attacking you. After getting a few bits, I immediately run away from the park.
Before I leave the city, I want to see Kazan’s Kremlin and Bauman Avenue which attracts you with its beautiful lights in the evening. The city is very beautiful both in the morning and the evening. I get on to wagon lit which departs at 21:45 and return to Nizhy Novgorod. Let’s see what will welcome me in the next destination.
Where Is Kazan and How To Go There?
Kazan is 820 km away from Moscow. In order to travel to the city, you can take the trains which are very popular in Russia. There are 3 or 4 train services every day. I recommend you to take the wagon lit which departs at nights. This comfortable and clean trains will give you a different experience. If you plan to travel to Kazan directly from Turkey, there are airline companies which have direct flights. But it may be expensive since the flights are very rare.