LEISURE Newsletter, March 2019

Today we would like to introduce a city of Kazan to you - which very often is mixed up by foreigners with a separate country - Kazakhstan (former republic of USSR). Kazan in fact is a capital of Tatarstan region which is part of the Russian Federation. The city can be reached from Moscow by overnight train (very comfortable and neat) or by 1,5 hr flight. The city has gained its fame not only due to its history but as a place where traditionally different religions have been coexisting very peacefully.

Helen Isaeva

Republic of Tatarstan

Kazan Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan and is the “third capital of Russia”, after Moscow and St. Petersburg. It is one of the most beautiful and famous cities on large Volga river, which has a thousand-year-old rich and unique history. Kazan history is linked with the Golden Horde, Khanate, Ivan the Terrible and the revolutions of the early 20th century.
KazanThe main Kazan landmark is the Kazan Kremlin, an outstanding architectural and sacred monument, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. It was built on behest of Ivan the Terrible on the ruins of the former castle of Kazan khans. Kul-Sharif Mosque was built in the Kazan Kremlin previous to XVI century. Besides the main Mosque building it includes a library, publishing house, Imam's office and Museum of Islamic culture. You will touch the walls of Suyumbike falling tower. Also you can take a look an ancient Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral dated of XVI century and Governor Palace where is the official residence of the President of Tatarstan.
KazanBelow the Kremlin you will visit Bauman Street – the main walking street of 4 centuries and the central walking trading street of Kazan of 4 centuries and the ensemble of monuments and architectures of the city: Bell tower of the Epiphany’s Church, State Bank, which kept the gold reserves of Russia during the Civil War and a copy of the carriage of the Empress Catherine II.
Kazan Then we will see the Old-Tatar Settlement (Slobodа), Kaban lake, Al-Marjani Mosque (XVIII century; the first stone Mosque in Kazan of two which is allowed to build by Empress Catherine II after Ivan the Terrible captured the Kazan in 1552), Apanaev Mosque (XVIII century; the second of two stone Mosques in Kazan which was allowed to build by Empress Catherine II), Azimov Mosque (1890), Nurulla Mosque (1849), Galeev Mosque (end of XVIII century), Yardem Mosque and Reabilitation Muslim Center, the Tatar drama Theater of G. Kamal, stylized village "Tugan Avylym" ("The native village" in Tatar), Park of 1000th anniversary of Kazan, the Opera and Ballet Theatre, Liberty Square, the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross where the miraculous Icon of Kazan God’s Mother is, which was returned to Russia from Vatican by the will of the Pope John Paul II.

The main attractions of the city and one day tours from Kazan

The city of Bulgar is listed as a UNESCO heritage site
Bulgar We suggest to make the original and fascinating travel along the Volga river by vessel in summer time (or by bus the whole year) to the most ancient city of Bulgar, where you will have the opportunity to plunge into the historical atmosphere of the ancient Bulgar Khanate. Volga Bulgars are considered to be the ancestors of Kazan Tatars. They have chosen Islam as their religion in X century and laid the foundation for the very specific Tatar culture.

BulgarThe city of Bulgar was destroyed in early 15th century and since that time Kazan started to be a new capital of Volga Bulgaria and Kazan Khanate. Nowadays Bulgar is called as “North Mecca” and is a place of pilgrimage as the city of the Muslims of Russia. It is listed as a UNESCO heritage site where visitors can admire the architectural memorials of 13-14th centuries: The Red, Black and White Chambers and Eastern Baths, Cathedral Mosque and Big Minaret of the Khan Sepulcher, The Northern and the Eastern Mausoleums.

BulgarThere are some modern objects as well. An elegant White Mosque (which resembles the well-known Taj Mahal) was built to celebrate the date of adoption of Islam in a region and to host the world’s largest printed Quran with 2 meters’ tall pages and solid malachite cover. Midday prayer Zuhr. At the end of the tour we will visit the Bread Museum, with functioning Wind and Water Mills, Miller’s House and Bakery.

city Island of Sviyazhsk
SviyazhskThe history of the city began on May 24, in 1551, when Ivan the Terrible decided to build on the island a wooden fortress. It took only four weeks. Sviyazhsk became a base supporting Russian troops in the war against the Kazan Khanate.
The island has unique historical and cultural monuments, such as Monastery of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, Sviazhsky Cathedral, “John the Baptist” Monastery which has the Trinity Church on its territory - the only remaining building from wooden Sviyazhsk. Through many centuries Sviyazhsk has been remaining a Russian Orthodox shrine.

SviyazhskVisiting of Raifa Blessed Virgin Monastery (architectural complex of XVII-XIX centuries): Georgian Miracle-working Icon of the God’s Mother, the Trinity Church, the Church in the name of Saint Fathers Slain in Sinai and Raifa.

Tatar cuisineLunch with a master classes:
Lunch with a master class "SECRETS OF TATAR CUISINE" when the Chef shows and tells (with a guide) how to cook some dishes (Echpochmak triangle, sweetness Tatly from pastila and Tokmach - noodles soup at home). During the show time Chef offers to one or two tourists to try to help him to cook something (cut noodles, wrap a triangle, etc.) and answer the questions and continue the lunch. Guests taste the triangle and Tokmach soup and tatly with tea.

Tatar cuisineInteractive lunch "BIK TEMLET",
when everyone put on the board, rolling pins and everything necessary for self-cooking (as well as triangles, noodles) and cook everything together with the Chef. Everyone eating what he cooked by himself. This event has much fun! There is still a tasting dinner when different Tatar dishes are prepared and tourists try them all. After the master class, we give guests a book with recipes and a description of the main popular Tatar dishes.

Kazan Hippodromeu>
Kazan HippodromeKazan Hippodrome is one of the largest in Europe and is the biggest hippodrome in Russia. It’s a complex with a total area of 91.1 hectares, which includes various thematic zones:
  • the sports demonstration zone which includes covered tribune for 4,000 seats and opened tribune for 2,000 people
  • the hippodrome field is for horse tests and competitions and consists of race track with a length of 1,800 meters and a running track with the length of 1,600 meters
  • the training course consists of a hippodrome field and a playpen for professional riding sports and for a riding school
  • the economic zone is intended for stud farms and private horse owners
  • veterinary clinic with a horse receiving station, a winter swimming pool for horses, storage of feed, carpentry, blacksmithing workshop
  • the park zone includes a riding school, rental and horseback riding on horses and ponies
  • the entertaining-playing zone includes network of restaurants, cafes, bars

Kazan HippodromeFacilities:
  • Excursion to the museum of horse breeding and equestrian sports and a sightseeing tour of the hippodrome (45min)
  • A tour of the stable. Acquaintance with horses of different breeds. Horses can be stroked and feed to treats (apples, carrots, drying, sugar can be brought with you) for a duration of 15-20 minutes.
  • Riding on horseback, in a carriage or sleigh
  • Horseback riding. Duration of employment 1 academic hour

Tour to Kazan for 4 days / 3 nights

Day 1 - Welcome to Kazan.
Overnight train from Moscow to Kazan (way time 11 hrs, 12 mins)

KazanDAY 2 – Arrive Kazan railway station at 08.00
During the excursion you will visit the most interesting and ancient places of interest in Kazan: Old-Tatar Sloboda, the Kaban Lake with its picturesque views, merchant houses, the old mosque of XVIII century and will hear legends and stories of Tatar people. Tourists will walk along the old Kazan; visit the monastery, where the miraculous Kazan Icon of the Mother of God is kept. Walking excursion to KAZAN KREMLIN is also included and will not leave anyone indifferent.
  • fountains and a copy of the carriage of Catherine II

  • Kazan Kazan Kremlin is the object of UNESCO which walls united two religions – Moslem (Legendary Kuhl Sharif Mosque) and Orthodox (Annunciation Cathedral). You will touch the walls of SUYUMBIKE falling tower. Kremlin is a heart of the city, where ancient and modern cultural traditions, as well as legends and facts, blend together.
    “Kazan Arbat”- walk down the Baumana Street – the street of 4 centuries, the history of the central trading street of Kazan, the ensemble of monuments and architectures of the city:
    • Bell tower of the church of the Epiphany where Fyodor Shalyapin was baptized
    • State Bank, which kept the gold reserves of Russia
    • fountains and a copy of the carriage of Catherine II
    KazanDAY 3 – Excursion to the city island Sviyazhsk with museum
    On the way to the island you will see the Temple of all Religions.
    Lunch on the island
    8.30 Return to Kazan. Transfer to the hotel.

    DAY 4 – Departure
    Departure transfer to the train-station or to the airport with English-speaking guide.