Kazan is one of Russia's oldest cities, located on the Volga River, 820 km away from Moscow. It is the capital of Tatarstan which is home to 115 nationalities. Over 50 % of population are tatars, with Russians constituting the second largest population group. Russian and Tatar are the two official languages of the region, with completely equal status. Tatarstan is a secular republic that has over 1,000 registered religious organizations. Islam and Orthodox Christianity are the most widespread. Here you'll find mosques, Orthodox, Catholic churches and cathedrals, a synagogue, and other religious buildings and centres.
City of Tourists
In 2014, TripAdvisor named Kazan one of the most rapidly developing tourist destinations. The capital of Tatarstan, visited by over 1,000,000 tourists every year, was rated third in Europe and eighth in the world. The number of engaging excursions and tours around the sights of Kazan and neighbouring areas is simply astounding.
City of Sports
Kazan is one of the most well-equipped cities of Russia in terms of sports infrastructure. In 2009, an online survey deemed Kazan Russia's sports capital. Kazan has hosted multiple sports events at national and international level, including two field hockey world championships (2005 and 2011), the summer World Student Games (2013), fencing world championships (2014), and others. In 2018, the capital of Tatarstan will host football World Cup matches.
There is a great number of sports grounds and active leisure facilities in Kazan. There are sports facilities to play hockey or go skating, skating rinks, and aqua parks with swimming pools and rides. Those who are into active leisure would enjoy a rope park and a karting centre.
What to See
Kazan Planetarium is the only one of its kind in Russia to be located within the territory of a university (Kazan Federal University): it offers amazing guided tours, popular science videos with special effects, astronomic observations, and romantic evenings. Visiting a tropical butterfly park is a good way to become immersed into a carefree, warm summer atmosphere. Here you can also visit a terrarium and a petting zoo (where you can feed animals).
Near the City
The island town of Sviyazhsk is a fortress town on an island 30 km away from Kazan, built in 1551 by Ivan the Terrible's troops in only 4 weeks. The historical and architectural complex of Sviyazhsk includes four monasteries, three churches, two cathedrals, a bell tower, and a monument to victims of political repressions. In addition to frequent guided tours, the island often hosts music festivals, stage performances, and an annual archery and crossbow tournament.
Blue Lakes is a very famous recreation spot for both locals and visitors. Water basins that are 2-18 metres deep are fed with underground waters and do not freeze in winter. The waters are completely transparent and rich in salts. The bottom is covered with saline silt mud. Swimming in Blue Lakes is not only a pleasure, but it is also very good for you.