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I’ve fallen in love with Kazan

What can I say about Kazan?

It is a beautiful city. Perhaps the most beautiful I’ve ever visited. Kazan didn’t quite manage to overshadow everything I experienced in Mongolia, but I no longer feel like Mongolia was completely without rival. Kazan makes a play for the gold.

We arrived in Kazan after nearly 72 hours on the train. We were tired (as you can only be tired after a long journey), desperate to move, and desperate to get to the hotel and shower. (That last desperation was probably more mine than Steve’s.) Our train arrived at a secondary train station that was not near the “good stuff” in Kazan, but we saw signs for the metro as soon as we exited the train, and in about two minutes (and 20 rubles–very cheap) we were on a metro train, headed for the Kremlin and our hotel.

We walked out of the metro and there–there!–was the Kremlin wall, and peeking over it the Kul Sharif Mosque.

And that was it, right there. I was already in love with Kazan.

It took us maybe 10 minutes to walk from the metro station to our hotel, where we both took quick showers and then headed off for dinner. After dinner, we strolled around, following the streets to the Kremlin and marveling at building after beautiful building, lit up and glowing.

Around us, people walked. Lovers sat on benches near the Kremlin gate, chatting and holding hands. It was a very social, comfortable place to walk after dark, and I remarked on that because Irkutsk had felt strangely different; after dark, the streets there were empty and strangely quiet.

We had two full days to wander Kazan, and I loved every minute of it. (Although my feet yelled at me a bit; it was a lot of walking.) Everywhere I looked, there was something marvelous. And everyone we met was friendly. Or so it seemed.

The Kul Sharif Mosque

I am putting this gallery first because the mosque was the first thing we saw when we got off the metro in Kazan. The building is so beautiful and so new, that it can dominate your perceptions of the city (although it is certainly not visible everywhere). I also like the purpose of the mosque: it was built with “the idea of preserving the cultural balance between the two main populous nations of Tatarstan” (from Kazan: The Portrait in the Impressionist Style by Sergey Sokolov, which I picked up at a random shop in town).

Churches of Kazan

There are (unsurprisingly) a multitude of churches in Kazan. Here are just a sampling.


Buildings and Architecture of Kazan

This is a hard category of photographs for me to post on, because I took so many pictures of beautiful buildings in Kazan. Many of them I cannot identify. But I did my best here.

Just a Few More

Edited to add: Steve talks about Kazan in two posts: