A trip to the heart of Tatarstan - Kazan

Tatarstan Republic is part of Russian Federation, lies between the Volga River and the Kama River, and extends east to the Ural mountain.

My trip to Tatarstan went beyond expectations. Kazan the capital, a clam city ever, tells untold tales of the place and the mankind. The country shall be the next destination in your realization of the world. Nothing surprising to read in poem of “Shurale” what the famous Tatari poet Gabdulla Tukay (1886 -1913) wrote:

   “I recall in all directions
   Lay the backwood's broad delight.
   Grasslands there of glossy velvet
   Dazzled everybody's sight”

Reaching Kazan
Various public transport means are available across Russia, however, it is recommended to buy a ticket on Siberian Airlines (S7) which operates a couple of flights a day to Kazan via Moscow – Domodedovo , among other operators. Siberian Airlines is well known for departure on time comparing to other airlines. The trip to Kazan is about 80 minutes flying over the Volga region. You will be pleased to see the wide green country sides if no clouds.

Kazan airport is pretty small and can only accommodate a plan in a time. Passengers need to wait for the luggage outside the arrival hall, then to get back for collection. Be prepared to show the tag while claiming your bags.

The trip to Kazan city requires 30-45 minutes by taxi depending on the traffic jam. It is highly advised to book the taxi prior to your departure as taxis are not easy to find nearby. Buses are always available – not being tried by the author- bus 97 runs from the airport via the Mega shopping mall to "39 Kvartal” to connect to other areas in Kazan. If you are flying to Kazan from abroad, then you need to follow the Russian travel roles and entry regulations.

There are a plenty of hotels in Kazan, those by the Volga River are advised due to the spectacular views and the ease of walking around. Grand Kazan Hotel, for example, is a new 12-story modern property which enjoys a good location by the river and attached to a shopping centre. Receptionists are helpful and speak flair English. Rooms are nice and tidy with a Flatron TV screen that shows international, Italian, Russian and Arabic channels. Food and beverage facilities are within the acceptable range. Give a try to the gift vending machine located in the lobby, it offers a variety of souvenirs at affordable prices and cheaper than those in Kazan airport. A pool and a fitness center are available. Free speed Wi-Fi is accessible in the lobby. No internet in the rooms.

Walking Around
Most attractions are in a walking distance from the city center. The main attractions for tourists are around the Kremlin and Bauman Street. Yet, walking by the Volga River is second to none to grasp the city landscape which finds its roots from the old Tatari style and inspired by the Islamic and the Orthodox architecture and soviet culture. Kazan's Kremlin and the Kol Sharif mosque are very few examples. Don’t miss to visit Söyembikä tower, an ancient Tatari piece of art. Consult Kazan City Tourist Portal www.gokazan.com to learn further.

Following the general tips of safe walking around is advised! Carry the hotel registration card when outside. Majority of people in Kazan, like the case across Russia, speak no English. Carrying the address of the hotel and a list of key requests and locations is a good technique to follow.

Varity of cuisines can be found across the city especially in Moskovaskay street. DTK national restaurant serves Russian and tatari food. Make sure to test the superb borsch soup with ingredients of meat or fish broths, red beets, mushrooms, cabbage, onions, carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes. Shashlik is also testy and too much similar to meat grills in the oriental cuisine. Food portion in Kazan, and Russia in general, is smaller than expected.

Enjoy your trip to Kazan.

Bassel Nadim

For more photos please read the TravelPod version

1 comment:

  1. Good review on the city. There are few more things you may add next time. Well done