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Volga Region : Middle Volga : Tatarstan : Kazan
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Evening view at the Kremlin of Kazan

Kazan (Russian: Каза́нь kuh-ZAHN’) [15] is the capital of Russia's republic of Tatarstan and the center of the world Tatar culture.


With a population of about 1.3 million (2011 census), rich history, deep culture and strong economic influence, Kazan hold the title of "The Third Capital of Russia" (after Moscow and Saint Petersburg), taking this title from the competing Nizhny Novgorod. By many measures, Kazan has the one of the highest standards of living in Russia, only after Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Kazan has just recently earned the reputation of a sports city, due to its recent investments in this domain. Kazan will organize the Universiade 2013, and will be a host city in the FIFA World Cup in 2018 in Russia. It is said that one of the World Cup semi-finals may be held in Kazan! Both the World Cup and Universiade events are enhancing the city's booming construction. In the last couple of years, sport venues have popped up in Tatar capital, together with residential buildings and offices. Many of Kazan's professional teams, such as Rubin (football) or Ak Bars (hockey), have been recent Russia champions.

Kazan has long been a focal point of higher education in Russia. It remains a university city, with some of Russia's top universities including Kazan Federal University (KFU - formerly Kazan State University, TGGPU and the Kazan Finance Institute), Kazan State Technological University (KGTU), Kazan State Technical University (KAI), and "Energa" University. Many foreign students study in Kazan, adding color to the city's tolerant and diverse population. Schools in Kazan, and wider Tatarstan, tend to be some of Russia's best.

Located between Europe and Asia, having both Russian and Tatar populations, Kazan peacefully blends Muslim and Christian cultures. There are also many other religions represented in Kazan. For example, in the city center there are is a synagogue and new catholic church. This vibrant city with over 1000 years of history is an excellent travel destination, and the number of tourists visiting is rapidly increasing every year.

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) -8.2 -7.2 -0.6 9.8 18.9 23.5 25.0 22.4 15.8 7.2 -1.5 -5.7
Nightly lows (°C) -14.9 -14 -7.9 1.4 7.9 13.1 15.0 12.8 7.6 1.4 -6.3 -11.6
Precipitation (mm) 35 30 25 34 38 70 66 59 55 54 44 38

Average of Kazan


Get in

By plane

The airport in Kazan (IATA: KZN) is the headquarters for Tatarstan Airlines, which serves several cities in Russia and flies some charter flights to destinations like Turkey and Egypt. In addition to Tatarstan Airlines, Aeroflot, S7, SkyExpress, and UTAir fly between Kazan and Moscow, and Rossiya Airlines also flies to Kazan from Saint Petersburg. Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines are the two international carriers which currently have scheduled flights to Kazan.

Travelers should note that the international airport is southeast of the city and far from the city center. A taxi from the train station to the airport takes about 90 minutes and can cost 1000 Rubles or more. Public transportation to and from the airport is complicated, as there is no direct bus service between the airport and the city. Bus 97 runs from the airport via MEGA shopping mall to the "39 Kvartal" bus station in the Aviastroitelniy Rayon (north of the city center and across the Kazanka River). From the 39 Kvartal, change to bus 15 or 35a to reach the Kremlin.

Kazan train station

By train

Kazan is easy to reach by train, as it is a major station stop for several west-east trains. Depending on the train, travel from Moscow's Kazan Station can be as short as 11 hours. A direct train from St. Petersburg's Moscow Station takes 25 hours. Kazan's train station is located close to the city center, with several hotels, restaurants, and the Kremlin within walking distance of the train station. Note that the ticketing office is not in the main (historic red brick) building, but in the more modern building with a clock tower next door; as one faces the main building from the street, the ticket office is to the left.

By boat

Kazan has a riverboat terminal on the Volga River and can be reached by river cruise as well [16] [17]]. River cruises down the Volga operate during the summer months (early May to end of September). Dozens of boats operated by different companies run from Moscow to Astrakhan. One way or return cruises may be reserved to/from practically any city along the Volga. and are several sites that offer tours.

Get around

Much of the city center is walkable, and the main attractions for tourists (the Kremlin and Bauman Street) are closed to all but pedestrian traffic. Public buses are abundant and cheap, but one must have some knowledge of Russian to read the signs or ask where the buses are headed. Bus system maps are apparently hard to come by. Taxis are available and operate mostly an on-call service, rather than plying the streets for fares. They also congregate at a few taxi stands in predictable places such as the train station. A Metro system is being developed, with four stations on the red line in operation as of early 2008, running between Tukai Square and Gorkiy Station a few km to the south east. Later, a fifth station was built, close to the Kremlin.

A commercial company publishes a free map that is distributed at the reception of several hotels, and the Mirage Hotel also publishes their own free map.

Be aware! Kazan has fairly bad roads that may be difficult to drive.


Kazan celebrated its 1000-year anniversary in 2005, for which the city got a major facelift. Visitors today will be able to see many of the reconstructed or newly-constructed sites from the anniversary celebration.

Kazan Kremlin

Kazan Kremlin

Once a Tatar fortress, it was largely destroyed by Ivan the Terrible. During the 16th and 17th Centuries, Russians reconstructed the Kremlin with new fortifications and Russian institutions (such as the Annunciation Cathedral). Many of the features of the Kremlin reflect Russian influence of that era, and the construction of the parapets and watchtowers is particularly reminiscent of other dominant Russian cities of the time, such as Pskov and Novgorod. Entry to the Kremlin is through the white clock tower (the Spasskaya Tower) at the end of Bauman Street. Entry costs 300 Rubles with a guided tour, or 20 Rubles to explore the grounds on one's own. There are several interesting things to see inside the Kremlin, including:

  • Suyumbike Tower

The legend of the Suyumbike Tower is that the Tatar Princess Suyumbike was betrothed to Ivan the Terrible, but she consented to marry him only if he could build the highest tower in Kazan in seven days. Ivan accomplished the task, but Suyumbike, rather than subjugating herself and the Tatar people to the Russian ruler, climbed to the top of the tower and jumped to her death. Locals do not seem to believe that the legend is true, but they appreciate the romanticism of it. At present, the tower is not open to climb the stairs.

Suyumbike Tower
  • Kul-Sharif Mosque

Named after the 16th-century Tatar imam who died defending Kazan from Ivan the Terrible's army, the Kul-Sharif Mosque was completed in 2005 after ten years of construction. It is located within the Kremlin walls, making the Kremlin facility now a symbol of multicultural harmony in multiethnic Tatarstan. Entry to the mosque is free, although visitors must pay 3 Rubles for plastic slip-covers for their shoes in order to keep the floors clean. Visitors who climb the stairs to the third floor observation balcony do not need to remove their shoes. The prayer hall on the ground floor is open only to men going to pray and the second floor balcony is for Muslim women to pray. All women, though, should cover their hair in all parts of the mosque.

From the observation balcony, visitors can appreciate the beauty of the mosque, which is built in a modern design not unlike modern Turkish mosques. The dome in the shape of a lotus flower and the many windows give the prayer hall a bright and airy atmosphere. One uniquely local feature in the mosque is the malachite columns on the minbar (the free-standing pulpit). Some of the 99 names of God are inscribed on the inside of the upper dome and on the window glass, and the name Mohammed is written in a blue disk at the front of the prayer hall. Verses from the Koran, including an incantation against envy, are written on tile in the four corners of the hall, and the names on disks suspended lower in the hall are those of the four rightly-guided caliphs and some of the early prophets.

An interesting Museum of Islam is located below the ground floor of the mosque. Entrance is free, and a tour in English may be available if the English-speaking docent is on duty. The museum also has a booklet in English that explains the exhibits that can be helpful. Some of the exhibits include displays regarding the status of Tatar language in the Soviet era, some history of the building of the mosque (note the photo of prayers being held outdoors in the 1990s before the mosque was built), and on the lower sublevel is a history of Islam in Tatarstan, which mentions of Empress Elizabeth's attempt to convert Tatars to Christianity and Catherine the Great's edict allowing mosques to be constructed.

Kul Sharif Mosque
  • Annunciation Cathedral
  • State Hermitage Museum in Kazan

Affiliated with the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, this museum sometimes has special exhibits of interest.

  • State Museum of the Tatar State and the Republic of Tatarstan

The museum was one of several projects completed for the 1000-year anniversary celebration, and it is located on the former site of the Tatar sultan's mosque, which was destroyed by Ivan's army and a residence (?) was built in its place. The building fell into disrepair over the years and a Turkish company completed the renovations for the 2005 museum opening. One must first enter on the ground floor (located just to the left of the Suyumbike Tower) and pay the 20-Ruble entry fee. A group of energetic and chatty old ladies staff the museum, although none speak much English. The ground floor section of the museum is filled with gifts to Tatarstan from foreign dignitaries on the occasion of the 1000-year anniversary, as well as a reproduction of the sultan's throne (note the gold dome of the Koran case, which is meant to hold the Koran higher than the sultan's chair) and a reproduction of the mausoleum of the sultans, the original of which is said to be underground nearby: a small square monument marks the spot in the square outside the museum. To reach the second story of the museum, one must go outside and around the corner and climb the stairs in the courtyard near the Suyumbike Tower. There is no cashier on the second floor, so visitors much go to the ground floor section first. The second floor includes a narrative history of Tatarstan, from the early settlement of the Volga-Bulgars to the early Tatar state to Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic to Tatarstan in the Russian Federation. The guide will insist that visitors also visit a small room on the side where medals and decorations given to the president are displayed.

Bauman Street

The pedestrian zone that stretches between the Kremlin and Tokai Square and the Hotel Tatarstan. This is Kazan's Arbat, with boutiques, souvenir shops and kiosks, cafes, bars, and plenty of opportunities for people-watching. The statuary (such as a bronze carriage) is especially interesting.

  • Soviet Lifestyle Museum, Ul. Ostrovskaya 39/6 ; Ul. Universitetskaya (A minute's walk from Ulitsiya Baumana, above, 'Dublin' Irish bar.), [1]. 10-18. By far Kazan's most original and eccentric museum. The museum's curator, Rustem, is an outgoing, friendly, welcoming guy. He is also very knowledgeable about anything related to 'Soviet' culture. Entering the museum is like going through a time-machine back to the USSR. Rustem has managed to acquire anything and everything from the "Soviet" period. He is also bubbling with stories and anecdotes of how "then" compares to "now". Drop by on Sunday afternoons for impromptu Soviet songs jam sessions, complete with guitars, bass, drums, tambourines, bongos, flutes, fog machines and strobe lights. This place is too fun to be named a museum and is interactive in the fullest sense. Well worth the price. A must see if you're in, or anywhere near, Kazan. Cheap. (50,150)


The Kazan Herald, Tatarstan's first and only English language newspaper, offers weekly updates of interesting cultural activities in their "KH Calendar". They also offer free walking tours, in English, Russian or Tatar, on various weekends throughout the year. Look up the Kazan Herald for more information - [18]

From the river station (речной вокзал) (close to the bus station, автовокзал) you can take boat trips on the Volga. Two-hour boat trips, without any stops, depart a few times a day (12.00, 15.00 and 19.00 on most days) for 180r. You can also take regular services to different places. To the river station you can take trolleybus 20 or 21 from Koljco (Tukaya sq). There are also various buses and marshrutkas from other places; the river station is usually the terminal stop. The walk to the river station from the train station is very nice. Cross the railway tracks at the train station over the eastern bridge and follow the water for 20-30 minutes.



Baumana Street has the largest collection of restaurants, cafes, and bars in the city. They range from acceptable to tourist traps. Places to eat off Bauman Street include:

  • Bilyar An inexpensive restaurant serving Tatar food. The rustic interior is designed to look like the interior of a Tatar log cabin, and a few even have salad bars that look like wells. Main courses are 50-200 Rubles. Try their 'echpekmoks' with bullion, salad 'makhebet', and their Tatar version of 'ukha' or creamy fish soup. At all locations, quality has been a constant. For desert, try their chak-chak. 4 locations in the city: Ulitsa Butlerova 31 (up the hill behind the Tatarstan Hotel), Ulitsa Bolshaya Krasnaya 48 (near the National Library), Ulitsa Vishnevskovo 15 and Prospekt Pobedi 50a (the latter two are a little farther from the center).
  • Sofra Kebab, Baumana Street 51, 3rd Floor (In GUM, in the food court on the 3rd floor.), [2]. 10am-10pm. Excellent Turkish cuisine, at a small cafe, located on the 3rd floor of GUM on Baumana Street. This is the very center of Kazan. There are a few Turkish-run places in Kazan's center, but Sofra Kebab provides the best quality/price ratio by a long shot. The prices are very democratic for what you get. Order any main dish and receive a free drink and side dish. Many of the main dishes in Turkish can be found here. This includes delicacies such as "doner"/shwarma wraps (grilled chicken, wrapped in flat bread with vegetables), Adana Kebab, Beyti Kebab (excellent, w/garlic yogurt sauce), and Kulbasta grilled chicken. The beef or lamb shashlik is also excellent. All will be grilled fresh, right in front of you. They also have great deserts, including marinated walnuts and dates, vanilla rice pudding and of course, some of the best bakhlava to be found in Kazan. If you're in the center and tired of standard Russian or Tatar fare, head over to Sofra Kebab. They also have a good "bizness lunch" special. There are three additional Sofra Kebab locations (Uzhni Shopping Center, near Moskovsky Rynok, etc). Cheaply Priced.
  • Priyut Kholostyaka A trendy restaurant with an eclectic menu of European and Russian dishes. Main courses 300-500 Rubles. Clean, quiet, and a bit off the tourist path, this is a good place for relaxing and having tea. Although its name means Bachelor's Refuge which makes it sound like a strip club or something, it is nothing of the sort. Ulitsa Chernishevskovo 27a.
  • Agafredo (Агафредо), Ul. Galyaktyonova 6 (Just off Pushkinskya, opposite Kazan Federal University; directly opposite Yahoo sushi resturant). 830-24. The 'sister' cafe to "Sigafredo" cafe (Казань, ул. Чернышевского, 17; just off Ulitsiya Baumana), Agafredo is the newer of the two. The quality is solid and prices democratic. From 830-1100am, they offer a great breakfast menu in which you can choose from 7 different 'komplex' options. All include coffee or tea, fresh squeezed juice, pancakes or toast, a few vegetables, and then different variations eggs and meat. All for only 140 rubles! If looking for an excellent tasting, well priced breakfast, this (or Segafredo) is your best bet in Kazan. Lunch and dinner feature Italian fare and are generally tasty. These cafes offer free wifi, great non-smoking sections, outlets for your laptops, and comfortable seats. Medium level prices. (100,500)

Self-caterers can find a large supermarket (one of the Bakhetle chain) in the TsUM bulding across from the Mirage Hotel. The bakery across from the Milena Hotel on Tazi Gizzata Street has excellent bread and a few groceries.



  • I&I Hostel, Bolshaya Krasnaya st, 45, +7(960)044-12-49 (), [3]. Cosy hostel at the centre of a city. English speaking staff. There is a kafe inside, games, music, fun and etc.
  • Oranjin Hostel, Pushkina 1, 3rd floor (20 minutes walking from train station), 8 843 248-01-49, [4]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. 2.4.6 bedrooms. Guest kitchen, free WiFi, cosy common room. E-mail for booking: [email protected] Prices start at 500 rub per bed.
  • Bulgaru Hostel, Universitetskaya street 4/34 ap.8 (In historical center of Kazan), (843) 267-18-80 (), [5]. checkin: 11:00; checkout: 11:00. Founded in 2007 as a family enterprise by Ekaterina Bulgaru and Timur Kamalov. Their concept and major ambition is to combine the care and comfort of a family hotel with the fun and free atmosphere of a student's hostel. While offering a 24-hour reception and placing no formal constraints on guests like some old Soviet-era hotels, they don't limit themselves to providing only basic utilities. Wifi is free. 1 bed in day 500 rub.
  • Aillin Hostel, Bauman street 22 (Central part of Kazan), 8 (843) 297-99-71 (), [6]. This is a new hostel, next to the Kremlin, which advertises a friendly atmosphere and cleanliness. From 500 rub/night.


  • Milena Hotel, Tazi Gizzata Street 19 (From the train station, make an immediate right, walk one block, and turn left at the gas station), (843) 292-99-92 (), [7]. A new, clean, quiet hotel within walking distance from the train station, and also easy walking distance from Bauman Street and the Kremlin. Note that there is no elevator in the building, so request a first-floor room if that is important to you. Rooms start at 600 Rubles.
  • Hotel Shushma, Narimanova Street 19, (843) 292-98-21, [8]. Next door to the Milena hotel, and quite comparable to it.
  • Hotel Volga, 1 Said-Galeeva (A short walk north of the train station), (843) 292 14 69. Check if they say that there are no cheap rooms available. clean and basic single rooms from 750 rubles.


  • Courtyard Kazan, 26 Karl Marx Street, Vakhitovskiy District, +7 (843) 567 4000, [10]. checkin: 16:00; checkout: 12:00. The rooms have large windows with Kazan Kremlin views. The hotel's Lobby Bar has an innovative setting and relaxed atmosphere and a free WiFi. Full American-style breakfast buffet in main restaurant. Roof Bar with Kazan city views and tasty cocktails. Location near the Kazan Kremlin and main Kazan corporations.
  • Mirage hotel, (Directly across from the Kremlin), (843) 278-05-05 (), [11]. Easily the most expensive hotel in Kazan, but in a prime location with the greatest number of amenities. Rack rate starting at over 6000 rubles.
  • Shalyapin Palace, (Bauman Street), (843) 238-28-00 (), [12]. Within international standards of service and comfort. Starting at 2600 rubles per person.
  • Suleiman Palace, Peterburgskaya Street 55, (843) 278-16-16 (), [13]. Comparable in class of service to the Shalyapin Palace, but a bit further away from the city center. The Kremlin is not walkable from here, but it can be reached by a short taxi ride or bus. Rooms start at about 2500 rubles.

Stay safe

Since the '70s, Kazan has long had the reputation of being one of the least safe city of Russia. The "Kazan phenomenon" of street gangs even became a journalistic and sociological concept. However, since the late '90s, the security situation considerably improved.


Internet cafes and restaurants with WiFi are found throughout the city. Probably the most useful internet cafe for travelers is a small one across from the train station. From the main station building, cross through the park and cross the main street. It is at the corner to one's left, but hidden behind a newspaper stand and some kiosks.

The post office in Kremlyovskaya St. has seven computers with internet access, for around 36 rub./hour. Pay in advance at the register. Your unspent minutes will be refunded.

Tattelecom on the corner of Baumana and Pushkina, opposite the Koljco mall, has computers with ok Internet for 48 r per hour. Up Pushkina there are a few cafes and restaurants with free unprotected wifi. Also, outside of the Subway restaurant further up on Pushkina there is free unprotected wifi. Mcdonalds also has free wifi (on Baumana and by the train station).


  • Ir-flag.png Iran (General Consulate), Spartakovskaya street, 6, +7 (843) 526-5849 (, fax: +7 (843) 526-5856).
  • Tr-flag.png Turkey (General Consulate), Ulitsa Maksima Gorkogo 23/27 P.O. Box:141, 420015, +7 843 299 53 10 +7 843 299 53 11 (, fax: +7 843 264 25 11).

Visa Centers

  • Bu-flag.png Ez-flag.png Da-flag.png Fi-flag.png Gr-flag.png Ic-flag.png Mt-flag.png Nl-flag.png Sp-flag.png Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Malta, Netherlands, and Spain (EU Visa Center), Tazi Gizzata street, 4. Mon-Fri 9AM - 4PM.
  • It-flag.png Italy, Ostrovskogo street, 87, +7 (843) 567-11-02 (fax: +7 (843) 567-11-02), [14]. Mon-Fri 9AM - 4PM.

Get out

The Raifa Monastery is about 30km outside the city and can be reached by bus, according to its website. [19].

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This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!