The city of Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan, an autonomous republic which is part of the Russian Federation – that’s why it’s called a federation. This republic is now home to the descendants of the nomadic Turkic tribe, which used to be quite at odds with ancient Rus but now offers and atmosphere that feels very Central Asia.
This city has been around for more than a thousand years, which puts it into quite a special category of world cities, it’s a city that doesn’t forget its roots nor its people, as evidenced by the bilingual signposts and the presence of the green, white and red flag of the Tatar.
The city features a plethora of mosques whose spires dot the skyline, one of the most famous of them being the Kul Sharif Mosque which can be found inside the historic kremlin.
This mosque is located at the centre of the city; however the original mosque was destroyed by none other than Ivan the Terrible. The current mosque is thought to be the largest mosque in East Europe, and something of a landmark and beacon for Tatars from all around the world because it changed the entire image of the historic centre of Kazan.
Near the Kremlin you can find the St. Praskov’ya Temple, which is a church built in the 18th century in place of the wooden church that was here since the 16th century. The current church has also been rebuilt a few times due to damage from fires and such. During the Communist era however, the church was used for a less than holy activity, namely as a prison.
Of course since this is still Russia, one can expect to find a statue of Lenin, but the Lenin Monument in Kazan has a different type of meaning because Lenin went to university here studying law while also showing interest in literacy.
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