Kazan – capital city of the Tatarstan Republic

Kazan is one of Russia's most multi-ethnic cities, often called 'the crossroad of East & West'. Over 115 different nationalities live here, of whom the two largest groups are Russians and Tatars. This fact lends the city its special buzz – a place where two great cultures live harmoniously alongside each other, and who have created a united cultural environment together, despite their cultural and linguistic individualities.

Fascinating facts

  • One explanation of the city's name is Asiatic name for the local casserole dish, a kazan - still used for preparing local meals. And different cultural traditions have become mixed-up together too, with traditions from Russian Orthodox culture sitting aide-by-side with Islamic mosques. Restaurants serve Tatar and Russian dishes on the same menu, and throughout Tatarstan people speak both languages – and sometimes other languages too.
  • Kazan marked its one-thousandth anniversary in 2005. The city's history is rich and diverse, with many cultural monuments that reflect its multi-ethnic background and history. All visitors with a taste for architecture and history find Kazan a fascinating visit.
  • Kazan is officially recognised as the Russia's third capital. According to figures from Airbnb for 2017-2018, it's also the third-most visited city in Russia by tourists.

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City History

Kazan's history began as a defensive fortress as part of the Volga-Bulgarian state. Later, in the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries AD, it became a city of the Golden Horde. Its convenient location on the banks of the Volga River made it a valuable trade and political centre, and by the mid-15th century it had become the capital of the Kingdom of Kazan.

During the 16th century, the kingdoms of Moscow and Kazan were at war. This war was ended in 1552 – when Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible took Kazan by storm, ending the existence of the Khanate of Kazan. Henceforward Kazan became a part of the Russian state, and the Kremlin was built. Today's visitors can visit the former Old Tatar Settlement.

Contemporary Kazan is a modern city which holds national and international events of all kinds – including the city's famous Universiad, and matches of the FIFA World Cup. Ultimate Sports Cities Guide rates Kazan among the world's TOP-30 sporting cities of the world. Kazan's tourism sector is showing rapid development.

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