This city located in the center of Russia, on the Volga River, is the symbol of the closeness of Russian Orthodox Church and the Muslim religion. There were preserved interesting historical sites, a strong citadel – the Kazan Kremlin, as well as agreeable pedestrian streets where it will be pleasant to have a stroll or sit at one of the street cafes.
Kazan is one of the most developed industrial centers in Russia. It is the capital of the Re-public of Tatarstan where the Tatar live, the second largest nation on the territory of Russia, after the Russian. They profess the Muslim religion, and this, in fact, explains the closeness of Islam and Orthodoxy in Kazan.
Since 10th century the Tatar Khanate was an independent state with its capital located in Kazan. The city itself was founded in 1005, and several years ago, in 2005, it celebrated its thousandth anniversary. In 1552 Russian tsar John (Ivan) the Terrible took Kazan by storm and annexed the Tatar Khanate (Volga Bulgaria) to Russia. To commemorate this event there was built the Church of St. Basil in Moscow, which is now one of the most recognizable symbols of Russia.
Kazan Kremlin is the main sight of the city. It is situated on the high bank of the river Ka-zanka, near its confluence with the Volga River. It was just in this place that the main citadel of Volga Bulgaria was located, which was besieged by John the Terrible. You can have the most beautiful view of Kazan Kremlin from the bridge spanning the river Kazanka. From there you can see all the main sights of the Kremlin: Suyumbike Tower, Annunciation Cathedral and Qolsharif Mosque.
Annunciation Cathedral was laid down by John the Terrible just after the taking of Kazan, however, today church was built ten years later, in 1561. Now this is the oldest building in Kazan, and the cathedral has the largest capacity in Russia.
Qolsharif Mosque is near the Annunciation Cathedral. You could quite consider it as one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. It was restored in 2005, by the Thousandth Anni-versary of Kazan, and became the symbol of multi-confessional Russia. The original building of the mosque was destroyed by John the Terrible during the storm of the city in 1552. The mosque was named after its last imam Qolsharif who headed the defense of Kazan.
The Kremlin`s towers are also very beautiful. Totally, there are 13 towers, with churches built above 5 gate towers. Suyumbike Tower and Saviour (Spassky) Tower are the two most beautiful towers in the Kremlin. Both towers are often called the symbols of Kazan. Saviour Tower is the front entrance of the Kremlin, and Suyumbike Tower is located almost in the center of the complex. According to the legend, Suyumbike was the khan`s daughter who re-fused to marry John the Terrible and jumped out of this tower. And after that the tower was given her name.
Having visited the Kremlin, you may have a stroll along the pedestrian Bauman Street. There was created a pleasant atmosphere of the Old Town where there are a lot of young people and walking citizens. At the intersection of Musa Jalil`s and Kremlyovskaya (Kremlin`s) Streets you can see one of the most beautiful temples in Kazan – Peter and Paul Cathedral. It is one of the tallest churches in Russia (52 m), which was laid down by Peter the Great when he stopped there before one of the Azov campaigns.