Kazan

Kazan, one of the seven largest cities in Russia, is located in a picturesque area at the confluence of the Volga and the Kazanka Rivers. “This city, no doubt, is the first in Russia after Moscow, – wrote the Russian Empress Catherine the Great in 1763, – clearly, Kazan is the capital of a big kingdom”. Modern Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan Republic, it is very diverse, modern and ancient city at the same time: Islam and Orthodoxy, East and West, old and modern are mixed well in this “cocktail-city”. The minarets of the most beautiful Kul-Sharif Mosque rise right next to the onion domes of the Annunciation Cathedral inside the famous Kazan Kremlin. For many years already Kazan is being included in the international top list of the most popular travel destinations in Russia. People come to this place to enjoy a stunning architectural variety, to ride a steamer to the ancient island of Sviyazhsk, to buy great local souvenirs, and to taste the delicious ech-pochmak and chak-chak. In 2005 Kazan has turned 1000 years old: originally a fortress of the Volga Bulgaria state (the first Muslim state in Eastern Europe) it became a part of the Golden Horde in the 15th century; about a century after it was conquered by Ivan the Terrible and appeared on the map of the Russian State.