Kazan guide: distinctive culture, unique places and a lot of dough
If you want to find yourself in a completely different culture without leaving Russia, buckle up. We are going to Kazan, a city that seems to have collected literally all the popular titles: gastronomic, sports, the third capital of Russia, a city with a rich history and even “Russian Istanbul”. Regional authenticity catches the eye, and that is why people come here.
Ready to sell your soul for delicious echpochmak and chak-chak? I offer you a guide, from which you will learn how to gain a couple of “Tatar” pounds and feel the sincerity of the inhabitants of Tatarstan. And while you’re immersed in the atmosphere of the city, listen to my playlist with local musicians and a new perspective on Tatar music. That’s it, ALGA!
What to see in Kazan
Kazan is a multicultural city. There are just as many Russians as there are Tatars, but you hear Tatar speech less and less often. This mix of cultures gives the city a very special identity, including a mix of all kinds of styles in urban architecture. However, now you will see for yourself – I will tell you where to go and what attractions to visit Kazan.
Day 1: cultural immersion. Performances in the national language and the Old Tatar Settlement
Let’s start with the main point of the route, where you will immediately feel the national spirit – Galiaskar Kamal Theatre. All performances here are in Tatar language. Those who do not understand the language are given headphones with a one-voice translation into Russian or English. The headphone jack is located directly in the seat.
The theater repertoire includes many comedies with colorful Tatar humor. For example, the popular “Mehebet FM” about the life and loves of modern youth and “dialogues in the spirit of Tarantino”, as stated in the playbill.
Balcony tickets can be purchased for ₽200 at the official website or at the box office. At intermission, audience members go to the buffet: caviar sandwiches cost 70 ₽ and a glass of sparkling wine is 250 ₽.
The roof of the theater is decorated with a huge slide, although the architects say it’s a sail, and the theater itself is a ship. Alas, it is impossible to climb up to the roof.
Near the theater – another attraction: the Lower Kaban Lake. According to legend, at the bottom there are hidden treasures of Ivan the Terrible, which mysteriously disappeared during the siege of Kazan and haven’t been found yet.
It is unlikely you will find the gold on the muddy bottom (swimming here, by the way, is not allowed), but around the lake a real treasure – one of the best Russian embankments, which were opened only in 2020. Phyto-treatment cascades, bicycle paths, hammocks, modern playgrounds, cozy bridges and a lot of plants, which help clean the water – the walk will take you about an hour.
Next, you will be immersed in the Old Tatarskaya Sloboda with wooden colored houses and historical buildings. It’s one of the most attractive tourist parts of the city, but you can wander into quiet streets and see how the Tatars lived in pre-revolutionary times. Of course, now there is no longer a division into Tatar and Russian communities, and among the wooden houses there are modern monolithic houses.
One of the popular tourist spots is the Tatar farmstead, where they hold master classes on cooking national dishes. For example, for ₽800 you can learn to bake ₽chpochmaki. And on Paris Commune Street is located Museum chak-chak, which for 900 ₽ will teach you how to cook it. Pre-register through the website of the museum.
During the rest of the walk let yourself get lost in the city and wander around the courtyards and beautiful alleyways of Shigabutdin Marjani, Kayum Nasyri, and Gabdulla Tukai Streets.
Be sure to walk around al-Marjani mosque which symbolizes the beginning of religious tolerance in Russia, and take pictures against the background of colored wooden houses
Walk along Moskovskaya Street, which preserves the old shopping spirit, to the place that will take you to today’s Kazan: the Smena Center of Contemporary Culture. Here you can buy books from the publishing house of the same name, such as Mythology of the Kazan Tatars with beautiful illustrations (for ₽300), and vinyl records. Be sure to order a Tatar herbal raff at the local coffee house. If you have energy left, check out the exhibition or lecture held in “Smena”.
“Smena is housed in a former hay barn.
On the way to the Kremlin you can visit the Kazan Circus in the form of a space saucer. And of course we go to the Kremlin to see for ourselves the most recognizable buildings of Kazan. Admission is free.
Many people think that Kul Sharif Mosque has an ancient history, but the modern building was built only in 2005 on the place of the eponymous cult mosque, which was destroyed by the troops of Ivan the Terrible. Entrance is free for those of any religion and the opening hours are from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Suyumbike Tower is the Tatar “Tower of Pisa,” which is inclined from the axis by about two meters. It was named after the queen of the Kazan Khanate. In the 1500s in the Muslim world, women were allowed to participate in public affairs, indicating the special gender views of the Kazan Tatars. Therefore, I always perceive this tower as a symbol of the progress of the eastern people.
Let’s go to the embankment of the Kazanka River through the Palace of Farmers with a tree built right into the entrance arch. Famous blogger Ilya Varlamov considers this building one of the ugliest in Russia, while tourists consider it one of the most beautiful. Why does it have a huge bronze tree? It’s simple: the Ministry of Agriculture is located inside.
On the embankment in winter they pour a long skating rink, and in the warm season here you can ride a scooter on a special bicycle path to Gorky Park and a huge extreme park “Uram” under the Millennium Bridge. For winter rides there is a covered part with different jumps. Four hours of skating on the weekend will cost ₽400. There are skateboard sections and scooter sections, for example.
Day 2: Student Kazan and nightlife
To feel the revolutionary spirit of the young Lenin and walk along the streets where the future leader pondered his ambitious plans, go to Kazan Federal University. First, I suggest “roasting” on the “Frying Pan” – this is the name of the square opposite the entrance to the main building of KFU. Then look into the cozy courtyard of the university. If you see a gate to the right of the main building, feel free to go in, the entrance is free.
Inside are a weather station, an astronomy department, and an anatomy theater in a building with an inscription in Latin – “Nis locus est, ubi mors gaudet succurere vitae” (Here is the place where death willingly helps life). There are embryos in jars, a collection of skulls, “freaks” (to quote from the museum’s website) and skeletons. Admission is by appointment and the cost is 100 ₽.
If you go to the observation deck in the courtyard, you will see a panoramic view of Kazan and the building of KFU Physics Department
Then you can walk along one of the main tourist streets – Kremlin street, where there are a lot of historical buildings.
Opposite the main building of KFU – Ushkova house in eclectic style. You can sign up for a tour on the instagram of this house. It also quite nicely notes: “born in 1906 with a wedding cake”. All because Zinaida Ushkova was given this house as a wedding present. Inside – a grotto with plants, more like a cave, and many secret rooms. For a long time, the National Library was housed in this building, but recently moved – we’ll get to it tomorrow.
Look at the Russian Baroque Peter and Paul Cathedral, built in honor of Peter the Great’s visit. The project was done by a local wealthy merchant. As a basis was taken the usual plan of the suburban temple, but on the fourth year of construction the vault collapsed, as not taken into account that the traditional design does not imply a huge height. Then Peter I sent craftsmen from Moscow, who restored the building.
The National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan has a real carriage of Catherine II, on which she came to Kazan, and many exhibits – will tell more about the history of the Tatars. The ticket price is 350 ₽.
Back to the route: we turn to the Black Lake Park . In winter there’s an ice rink with a view of the Kremlin, and in summer there’s a lake and ducks. A perfect place for a picnic on the wooden stairs or grass. One of the important places on Black Lake is the legendary Mergasovsky House, built in 1928, one of the few surviving monuments of constructivism in the city. The building was once a new word in architecture-the first apartment building in town with running water, heating, and sewerage. Residents were not moved out until 2019, and the building is now in a state of disrepair.
We go to the street of bars – Profsoyuznaya. Here you can dance on the summer veranda in the bar “Salt” or Zero, go to the bar Kommunalka, styled as a khrushchevka, or to the colorful beer house “Behemoth” with beer for 100 ₽. Or you can simply go from bar to bar, as the locals do.
If you haven’t had enough impressions and haven’t yet visited Baumana, Kazan’s main tourist street, go there now to tick off the list of all the popular places in Kazan (a copy of Catherine the Great’s carriage, fountains with characters from Gabdulla Tukay’s tales, the Old Prolomnaya Pharmacy, National Bank of Tatarstan and the Bell Tower of Epiphany). You can also take an ironic picture near the monument to the chubby Kazan Cat.
There are no special recommendations for bars – just stay in the places you like the most.
Top 40 places to go in Kazan in 2022
Where to go in Kazan? In 2022, this city is more beautiful than ever. There are locations that every visitor should visit, there are many attractions where locals will be interested. We offer you different options for walks that will be interesting for children, young people and adults.
All places to go in Kazan, on the map of the city
Where can I go in Kazan? The capital of the Republic of Tatarstan lies on the left bank of the Volga. It is the largest agglomeration in the Volga Federal District in terms of population, covering an area of 638 square kilometers. There are many interesting places that will leave a memory in your heart. On the map you can find the most interesting places in Kazan, which must visit.
If the map is not showing, click HERE
Find airline tickets to Kazan
The most convenient way to get to the city is by plane. In this system you can quickly find the cheapest ticket with a convenient flight time. Just enter the travel dates into the form, select the airport of departure and you will be given several options for travel.
Where to go in Kazan: 15 main places
Walking around Kazan is a classic and affordable kind of vacation that is so loved by locals, visitors from nearby cities and from all over Russia. We offer you 15 places that are definitely worth visiting if you come to this magical city.
Visit the heart of Kazan – Kazan Kremlin
This is a state historical and architectural museum-reserve. Here you will find a huge number of ancient structures, which are located in a picturesque place on the banks of the river Kazanka. Here is the Governor’s Palace – the residence of the president of the republic.
Address: Vakhitovsky district. How to get here: to the metro station Kremlevskaya, take buses 15, 6, 29, 35, 47.
Interesting things to see: the Palace Church, the Suyumbike Tower, the Annunciation Cathedral, the government offices complex, the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery, the Junkers’ College building, the Cannon Yard and Kul Sharif Mosque.
Visit Kul Sharif Mosque.
The main juma mosque of the Republic of Tatarstan.
This is a real symbol of the city that everyone knows. The mosque is active and was built on the site of the one that was destroyed in 1552. The place was named in honor of the Imam who died here during the defense of the city. Officially renovated mosque was opened on 24.06.2005, to celebrate the millennium of the city.
Address: Kazan Kremlin, 13. How to get here: To the Kremlin metro station, take bus number 22, 28, 29.
What’s interesting: the magnificent architecture, the museum of Islam, viewing balconies for excursions, a luxurious crystal chandelier with a diameter of 5 meters. You need to enter the mosque with your head covered (for women), you can not go there with exposed shoulders and knees – for both sexes.
To make a wish near the Suyumbike tower
If you don’t know where to go in Kazan on your own, visit the Suyumbike Tower. It is the most recognizable part of the whole complex. In the evening it is especially beautiful, because a special illumination is switched on.
There are many versions of its origin, but archaeological excavations have proved that earlier there were mosques and khan’s mausoleums.
Address: Kazan Kremlin, 17. How to get here: To the Kremlin metro station, take bus № 6, 15, 37, 47 or trolleybus № 2.
Visit the Cathedral of the Annunciation
Annunciation Cathedral of the Kazan Kremlin
This stone construction is considered to be the oldest surviving in the city. For the first time the cathedral was consecrated in 1562, after that it has experienced several fires in different centuries. The large scale reconstruction was completed in 2005 and since then the church has been operational and liturgies have been resumed there.
Address: Kazan Kremlin, building 2. How to get here: to the metro station “Kremlin”, take bus number 22, 89, 6, 15, trolleybus number 2.
Do I have to pay admission: free of charge, entrance to the museum is 150 rubles, for pupils, pensioners and students – 100 rubles.
Walking along the Kremlin embankment (Kazanka river)
Embankment of the river Kazanka
The length of the embankment is 1.5 kilometers. It starts from the Kremlin and stretches up to the National Centre “Kazan”. This magnificent place for leisurely strolls by the river opened in 2015.
Address: 1 Fedoseyevskaya Street. How to get here: to the metro station “Kremlevskaya”, by bus number 22, 28, 89.
What’s interesting: transport rental, carousels and rides, skating, walks in the alleys, cafes, restaurants.
Fly on an airplane simulator Cessna 172
The Cessna 172 Flight Simulator
A great idea for people who do not like to sit still. Here you can try on the role of a pilot. And it can be done by anyone over the age of 4 years. You will be operating a simulator airplane dashboard which exactly replicates the real aircraft.
Address: 115A, Khusain Yamashev Avenue. AK Bars Arena, 4th floor. How to get here: to the Kozya Sloboda metro station.
Whether you have to pay for entrance: on weekdays for 30 minutes – 3000 rubles, for one hour – 5000 rubles, for 2 hours – 8000 rubles. On weekends – 3500, 5500, 8500 rubles respectively.
To visit the Gallery of Slava Zaitsev
Gallery-workshop of artist Slava Zaitsev.
This is a popular exhibition space, where the works of the artist are collected. What’s interesting, we are talking about the creations of the master, who creates paintings without using paint, rather than a popular fashion designer.
Address: 7, Burkhan Shahidi Street. How to get here: to Kremlevskaya metro station, take bus № 2, 10, 30, 72, 63.
Do I have to pay for entrance: for children from 7 to 14 years – 100 rubles, for children under 7 years – free of charge, for adults 400 rubles (preliminary registration is required).
Go around Bauman Street and visit popular places
Pedestrian Bauman Street
The question of where to go in Kazan tourists is not necessary if you have not yet been on Bauman Street. This is the most popular route, the oldest street that leaves no one indifferent. It stretches for 2 kilometers and since 1986 has been a pedestrian street, so there are always a lot of people walking here.
Address: Starts from the Kazan Kremlin to the intersection of Tukai Square and Pushkin Street. How to get here: to the metro station “Kremlin”, “Gabdulla Tukaya Square”, by bus number 29, 30, 35, 54.
What’s interesting: musicians, artists, performances with exotic animals, shopping. Nearby are the hotel “Chaliapin”, Kachalov Theater, National Bank, House of Printing, House upside down, House of the Giant and much more.
Stroll along Peterburgskaya Street
Koltso Shopping Center
Another street that is partially pedestrian. Its length is 1800 meters. This is a very beautiful place, coming here, you can imagine yourself in St. Petersburg, so much surrounding objects convey the atmosphere of the northern capital.
Address: It stretches from Tukai Square to Nazarbayev Street. How to get here: to the metro station Ploshchad Tukaya, Sukonnaya Sloboda, take bus number 1, 25, 43, 4.
What’s interesting: the monument to L. Gumilev, a shopping center “Koltso”, the hotel “Regina”, a sculpture of the galley “Tver”, stone mansions, rotunda – a copy of the dome of the Kazan Cathedral of St. Petersburg, the Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit.
Relax in the Millennium Park
Fountain in Millennium Park
As the name implies, this place was opened for the celebration of the city’s millennium. Many trees are planted here, flowerbeds are laid out, and there are several functional areas. In total, there are several gardens in the park, which have distinctive features – Eastern, Continuous flowering, Sorrow.
Address: Vakhitovsky district. How to get here: to the metro station “Gabdulla Tukaya Square”, by bus number 1, 2, 37, 47, by trolleybus number 6, 8, 12.