Kazan, capital of Tatarstan in Russia

Friday, 18 March 2011 - 06:20 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Architecture, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Kazan Kremlin © Untifler

Kazan Kremlin © Untifler

Kazan is the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,105,000 (2002), it is the eight largest city of Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the right to brand itself as the “Third Capital” of Russia. In 2009 it was chosen as the “sports capital of Russia”. The Kazan Kremlin is a World Heritage Site. In 1917 Kazan became one of the revolution centers. In 1918, Kazan was a capital of the Idel-Ural State, which was suppressed by the Bolshevist government. In the Kazan Operation of August 1918, it was briefly occupied by Czechoslovak Legions. In 1920 (after the October Revolution), Kazan became the center of Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In the 1920s and 1930s, most of the city’s mosques and churches were destroyed, as occurred elsewhere in the USSR. During World War II, many industrial plants and factories to the west were relocated in Kazan, making the city a center of the military industry, producing tanks and planes. After the war Kazan consolidated as industrial and scientific center. In 1979 city’s population reached the number of 1 million.

In the late 1980s and in the 1990s, after the dissolution of the USSR, Kazan again became the center of Tatar culture, and separatist tendencies intensified. With returning of capialism era Kazan became one the most important centers of Russian Federation. The city came up from 10th to 6th position in population ranking of Russian cities. Since 2000, the city has been undergoing a total renovation. The historical center, including its Kremlin, has been rebuilt. Kazan celebrated its millennium in 2005, although the date of the «millennium», was fixed rather arbitrarily. During the millennium celebrations, one of the largest mosque in Russia, Qolsharif, was inaugurated in the Kazan Kremlin, the holiest copy of Our Lady of Kazan was returned to the city, and the “Millennium Bridge” was also inaugurated that year. The city deserved to host the 2013 Summer Universiade and 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The city has a beautiful citadel (Russian: kreml, or, sometimes, Tatar: kirman), which was declared the World Heritage Site in 2000. Major monuments in the kremlin are the 5-domed 6-columned Annunciation Cathedral (1561–62) and the mysterious leaning Soyembika Tower, named after the last queen of Kazan and regarded as the city’s most conspicuous landmark. Also of interest are the towers and walls, erected in the 16th and 17th centuries but later reconstructed; the Qol-Şarif mosque, which is already rebuilt inside the citadel; remains of the Saviour Monastery (its splendid 16th-century cathedral having been demolished by the Bolsheviks) with the Spasskaya Tower; and the Governor’s House (1843–53), designed by Konstantin Thon, now the Palace of the President of Tatarstan.

In the beginning of 1990s most of Central Kazan was covered by wooden buildings, usually consisting of two floors. There was a historical environment of Kazan citizens, but not the best place to live in. During the Republican programme “The liquidation of ramshackle apartments” most of them (unlike other Russian cities), especially in Central Kazan, where the land is not cheap, were destroyed and their population was moved to new areas at the suburb of the city (Azino, Azino-2, Quartal 39). Nearly 100,000 citizens resettled by this programme.

Kazan Kremlin © Untifler Kazan city administration © Untifler Kazan state museum © Robert Broadie Kazan city centre © Dr Blofeld Kazan collage © TY-214 Kazan town hall © TY-214 Kazan theatre © TY-214 Kazan Roman Catholic church © TY-214 Kazan cityscape © TY-214 Kazan state university © TY-214 Kazan church © Maarten Night aerial view of Kazan © Andrij Bulba
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Night aerial view of Kazan © Andrij Bulba
Another significant building in central Kazan is the former “Smolentzev and Shmelev” tea house and hotel, now the Shalyapin Palace Hotel. It is located at 7/80 Universitetskaya Street, at the corner of Universitetskaya and Bauman. A major landmark of late-19th and early-20th century commercial architecture, it consists of two portions. The original portion, built for a merchant named Usmanov in the 1860s, was bought by the inter-related families of Efim Smolentzev and Pavel and Nikolai Shmelev in 1899. They operated a store selling, among other things, tea. In 1910, the Smolentevs and Shmelevs constructed another portion, designed by architect Vasili Trifonov, and operated a hotel there. After the Russian Revolution, the building eventually became the Hotel Soviet and after 2000 it was heavily renovated to reopen as the Shalyapin Palace Hotel.

There are 44 institutes of higher education in Kazan, including 19 branches of universities from other cities. More than 140 000 students are educated in the city. Kazan Federal University (founded in 1804) is third oldest university in Russia after Saint Petersburg State University (1724) and Moscow State University (1755). In 2009 KFU got Federal status as main university of Volga Region.

Kazan is one of the largest industrial and financial centres of Russia, and a leading city of the Volga economic region in construction and accumulated investment. City’s Gross Regional Product had reached 306 bln roubles (~$10 bln) in 2010. Total banking capital of Kazan banks is third in Russia. The main industries of the city are: mechanical engineering, chemical, petrochemical, light and food industries. An innovative economy is represented by the largest IT-park in Russia which is one of the largest of its kind amongst Eastern Europe science parks. Kazan ranks 174th (highest in Russia) in Mercer’s Worldwide Quality of Living Survey.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on City of Kazan, KazanTravel.ru, Wikitravel Kazan and Wikipedia Kazan. Learn more about the use of photos.




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