Kazan is often described as the City where Europe meets Asia, where the two cultures (Tatar and Russian) and two of the world’s main religions meet. Kazan has lots of things to do and interesting points of interest to see, starting with the Kremlin of Kazan, UNESCO World heritage site, as well Russia’s third oldest university where Vladimir Lenin was a student. A recently acquired treasure is the return of the famous Kazan Virgin Icon given by Pope Jean Paul II in 2004.
Kazan also boosts a high level and variety of performing arts, which is enriched by a number of cultural events including, the Shalyapin International Opera Festival, the Nuriev Classic Ballet Festival, the Music festival “Europe-Asia” and the Muslim cinema festival “Golden Minbar”. All these cultural events are closely interrelated with the names of famous people of Kazan, including : Rudolf Nuriev and Fedor Shalyapin, Lenin, Gorkiy, Tolstoy, Lobachevskiy.
Kazan main pride is its sports events. Kazan is the host city for Summer Universiade of 2013 (those are Olympic games for students), World Aquatics Championships of 2015. In 2018 the Football World Cup will also take place in Kazan. Thanks to all these major events Kazan is also called the sports capital of Russia. You are probably familiar with Kazan Football Club “Rubin” or hockey team Ak Bars. Both of them were champions of Russia several times.
Many traditions of Tatar origin are kept and shown at local national festivals, such as “Sabantuy”, the most popular national holiday. “Sabantuy” celebrates the end of planting of season, and includes folk games, such as pole climbing, sack races, tug-of-war, and national wrestling. It is also possible to visit the historic Tatar quarters in Kazan, the ‘Tatar Sloboda’, which is an authentic and picturesque part of the city where the Tatars were banished after Ivan the Terrible conquered Kazan.
Being an ancient city, Kazan has all influences in culture and architecture from the ancient Bolgar settlements and “Golden Hordes”. Kazan is an attractive gateway for visitors, wishing to discover the unique culture of the Republic of Tatarstan, historically known as “Tartaria”.