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The Capital of Tatarstan


Image00059Area: 614.2 sq.km

Population: 1 161 300

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Ask us where we are from —
We’re from Kazan on the Volga
Reared by the river,
We grow corn and tend cattle,
We extract oil and load river vessels
Here in the free Tatarstan.

 

Ask us where we are from —
We’re from Kazan on the Volga
Where our city rose above the river
Like a mountain range of white stone,
Where Tuqay wrote and Saydash sang
Of our beloved Tatarstan.

 

Sibgat Hakim

 

Kazan is a rapidly growing metropolis with a history spanning a thousand years. It is a city with a subtle soul of the East built with the best technologies of the West. Standing for many centuries on the border between the East and West, the city have been picking the best bits from different cultures, shaping something different, something unique and beautiful, weaving it together into a unique pattern.

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Wood crackles in the fire,
And the kindred pain is so sharp
Why does this song feel so Russian?
Because it’s Tatar, that’s why.

Thus wrote Yevgeny Yevtushenko in his beautiful poem about Kazan.

  

What is the secret of Kazan and wherein lies its mystery? Maybe it is in the centuries-old roots that has intertwined modern traditions of the Kazan Tatars and those of their ancestors, the Volga Bolgars?

The creation of Volga Bulgaria at the beginning of the 10thcentury, along the burgeoning Baltic-Volga trade route — the Great Volga Way — contributed to the rise of trading and craft settlements along the banks of the Volga and Kama. One of such settlements was Kazan, which was founded on the hill above the Kazankariver. This small fortress later became the Kazan Kremlin.

Archaeologists have proved that the age of the city isover a thousand years. During the excavations in the Kazan Kremlin, remains of masonry were found alongside with wooden walls, crafted items and various utensils. Among the artifacts were those made by Bolgars in 10th —13th centuries: pots, pitchers, bowls, cups, plates decorated with broad linear glossand wave patterns. A collection of finds from the oldest cultural layer includes two rare coins: an Arab dirham and an old Czech denarius of early 10thcentury. It is the earliest Czech coin found anywhere in the world. For a while, it had been worn as a trinket, as indicated by a hole by the edge.

The importance of Kazan’s millennium celebration is clearly visible from the very fact of setting up a federal-level Jubilee Committee headed by no-one else but the President of Russia.

The city received expensive gifts: the first line of the Kazan Metro, Qol Sharif Mosque, the Millennium Bridge.The Municipality of St. Petersburg helped reconstruct one of the main streets, renamed in the honor of the northern capital. A new race track was built, followed by the ice hockey Tatneft-Arena, the Millennium Park and Millennium Square.

There are many legends about the origins of the city. According to one of them,the eldest son of the last Bolgar ruler came to the river to get some water with a copper cauldron. The river bank was steep and craggy. In a clumsy move, he dropped the cauldron into the river and it immediately sank. Thus the river got the name of the Kazanka (from “kazan”, the word for cauldron), and the city came to be known as Kazan.

The most recent discoveries reveal to us the oldest historical Kazan as a small but exceedingly well-fortified fortress, built to protect a vital part of the Volga trade route. A large watchtower rose in the center of the fortress. It also had a military garrison, where soldiers lived with their families.

Gradually, a town grew around the fortress walls, with its own trading quarter. In the period of the Golden Horde, Kazan turns from a small provincial settlement into one of the major economic and political centers of the Middle Volga region. In 1438 (or, according to some sources, in 1445) it became the capital of an independent khanate. The city's name has appeared on maps made in Western Europe.

The famous Italian map made by the brothers Francisco and Domenico Pizzigani in 1367, shows a large city with a tower and a waving flag on the site of Kazan. Many other medieval maps drawn in the 14th or 15th centuries feature a silhouette of a large city north of the confluence of the Volga and Kama. Captioned is the Latin name Castrum (Castrama, Castarina — «Fortress»). A 1566 map names the city “Kazan castrum”. Remembering that medieval maps usually featured only capital cities, we must assume that Kazan by that time had already become a major trading center. Its population must have been as diverse then as now: Bolgars formed its bulk, joined by the settlers from the Golden Horde, neighboring Russian principalities and, of course, augmented by local Volga-Finnish population.

The political history of the Khanate was always difficult.The khans from the Horde, when they began their reign in Kazan, formalized their relationship with Basil II of Moscow. But soon the situation changed. The Grand Duchy of Muscovy began to strengthen and expand its boundaries. In 1552, Ivan IV conquered Kazan. However, the ancient city was able to maintain its characteristic diversity of uirbanplanning, architecture, economic and daily life of its citizens.

The city’s coat of arms depicts a fabulous creature — Zilant the winged snake. Originally, it was a personal emblem on the seal of Kazan Khans. In 1730, the royal decree placed Zilant on the coat of arms of the Kazan gubernia (province). The heraldic tradition makes the dragon a symbol of power rather than dread. Tatar legends show Zilant and the winged snake in general as a revered creature. Zilant is never an enemy, but the protector of the city, a symbol of guardianship and patronage.

The winged dragon lives on in the modern elements of urban design. Just have a look at the Kazan fountain in the Millennium Park.

Quite a few amazing wondershappened in this city.After a terrible fire in 1579one of the holiest icons of the Russian Orthodox Churchwas found here — the Theotokos of Kazan. The Theotokos appeared to anine-year-old girl named Matrona in a dream, commanding her to tell the archbishop and the city magistrates that a miraculous image has appeared in the city and they have to go discover it. No-one believed the girl at first, but after the third visitation of the Theotokos Matrona tearfully begged her mother to intervene and fulfill the commandment. They started to rake the ashes in the specified location and saw a wondrous light coming fromthe icon. Praying to the Kazan image of the Theotokos cured the sick and the blind... By the royal decree, the Convent of the Theotokos (Bogoroditsky Monastyr) was founded at the place where the icon was found. Matrona took monastic vows there, accepting the name of Martha. At its heyday, the convent had more than 400 nuns. Their art of icon-painting or gold embroidering was known far beyond Russia.

The Kazan Kremlin is the favorite walking venue for both people of Kazan and tourists. Happy newlyweds are a familiar sight here.

Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come here to worship the shrine.

It is from the Kazan icon of the Theotokos that the deliverance of Moscow from Polish invaders came. In 1611, Efrem, Metropolitan of Kazan, was called on by the incarcerated Patriarch Hermogenes to aid in repelling the invasion. Efrem gave the Kazan detachment a copy of the Kazan image to take it to the national army led by Minin and Pozharsky. In the memory of liberation of Moscow, a nationwide celebration day of Our Lady of Kazan was established on October 22. The Kazan icon of the Theotokos became the Patroness of the Romanov dynasty and was used to consecrate the first church in St. Petersburg and the whole northern capital of Russia.

Every ancient city has a special place where its secret and the most powerful image reveals itself. Without exaggeration, the Kremlin is the heart and soul of Kazan. As Vladimir Mayakovsky wrote (on a different Kremlin, but true of both), "Everyone knows the land starts from the Kremlin."

The main attraction of the capital of Tatarstan rises in its historic center. In 2000 the ensemble of the Kazan Kremlinbecame a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The citadel in white stone stands on the high left bank of the river Kazanka. By the mid-16thcentury, it housed the Palace of the Khans, stone mosques, madrassas (Islamic religious schools), baths, workshops and a cemetery with lavishly decorated tombs. In 1556, the construction of the new Kremlin began in white stone.

A team of Pskov and Novgorod architects led by Postnik Yakovlev and Ivan Shiryaev erected walls and towers 5 to 6 m thick. The Kremlin was embellished with the magnificent Cathedral of the Annunciation and monastery churches. It now also housedresidences of the archbishop (overseer of the large Kazan Diocese) and the voivoda (military governor).

Today Kazan Kremlin is the world's only surviving Volga Tatar fortress, which retained the original planning and overall composition (including functional organization of its facilities). It is the only active center of Tatar statehood and regional government, a product of the interaction of various urban and architectural cultures: those of the Bolgars, Golden Horde, medieval and modern Tatars and Russians. On January 22, 1994, M.Sh. Shaimiyev, the first President of the Republic of Tatarstan, signed a decree "On the establishment of the State Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve in the Kazan Kremlin".

The Kremlin is now viewed as a symbol of the unity of peoples and cultures, of tolerance and spirituality. Take a walk here and wonder how well the ancient Annunciation Cathedral fits together with the reconstructed majestic Qol Sharif mosque. In a small park by the cathedral you will see a monument to Russian and Tatar architects of the Kremlin. Not far from the mosque, on a small podium, you can read an inscription that says that by the decree of Tatarstan’s first President the rebuilding of the old mosque started simultaneously with the restoration of the main Orthodox church in the city. That's how modern traditions are established in keeping with the old.

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A wall shall sing as a harp,
And white chime shall flow downhill.
Musicians and painters
Have made a miracle at noon
For the Kremlin to stand firm,
Light as tears in the eye
For Kazan to come to everyone
As a white dream!

 

A fascinating walk through a unique and mysterious Kazan Kremlinis a must-do on a visit to the capital of Tatarstan. Youwill be impressedby the white stone walls of the citadel, its gunslots, 8 tent-roofed towers, including the famous Spasskaya (St. Savior’s) and Tainitskaya (Secret Tower), by the stately Governor's Palace (now the residence of Tatarstan’s President), by the PalaceChurch and Cannon Foundry Yard ...

A special pride of the Kremlin is its leaning tower. TheSoyembike (Söyembikä) Tower is probablyKazan’s most famous symbol. It got its name from the last Queen Consort of Kazan, "Söyembikä", or "lovely queen", as she was called by the people for her kindness. According to the legend, the tower stands on the spot of a previous construction built by Soyembike in the memory of her beloved husband Safa Garay, whose body had been put to rest in white stone mausoleum at the tower’s base. The tower standing today was built in the early 17thcentury. A beautiful slim seven-storied construction is 57 meters tall and sparsely decorated. In the early 20thcentury, the tower’s foundation sank, causing a179 cm lean. This makes Soyembike tower No. 3 in the world by leanangle.

Having had a look at the open air sights, pay a visit to the museums of the Kazan Kremlin: theHermitage-Kazan Center (a former cadet school founded at the beginning of 19thcentury), a museum and memorial complex devoted to“History of the statehood of the Tatar people and the Republic of Tatarstan", Museum of Islamic Culture, Natural History Museum of Tatarstan and the National Art Gallery of the Republic of Tatarstan. All these facilities have one thing incommon, offering you a chance to immerse yourself in the history of Kazan and Tatarstan and to flip through its pages.

The main architectural dominant of the modern Kremlin is a mosque named after Seid Qol Sharif. It is in itself a remembrance of the eight-minaret 16th century mosque, which was headed by this respected figure. Today it is conceived to be the main mosque of the Tatar people. The central part of the construction is a high-domed building with four minarets at the corners, symbolically recreating the al-Kabir, a long-destroyed ancient mosque in the city of Bolgar, the symbol of conversion to Islam. Like the Qol Sharif of old, the new mosque also has eight towers. The shape of main dome reminds of the Crown of Kazan, the old symbol of the Khan power, later taken away to Moscow and now stored in the Armory of the Moscow Kremlin. The interlocking decorations of lancet arches emphasize theirsuccession from the structure of the yurt — the ancient mobile house of the nomadic Turks. Another element organically woven into the architecture of the building is the ancient Bolgarsign of revival and prosperity — the tulip.

Qol Sharif is one of the largest and most magnificent mosques in Russia. Prayer halls and the Museum of Islamic culture are combined under one roof here.

After finishing your walk in the white-stone fortress, take a stroll along the street which is "four centuries long" — the pedestrian-only Bauman Street. Quite a number of old mansions survived in this historical part of the city. The Arbatof Kazan impresses its visitors with European comfort and Tatar hospitality combined.

The architectural centerpiece of the street is the bell tower of Epiphany Church, which is one of the highest in the Volga region. The famous Russian bass singer Fyodor Shaliapin was baptized in this church and later sang in its choir. His name has recently been given to the adjacent hotel, next to which stands a monument to the singer.

You can check your time at the large bronze clock decorated in Arabic style, with figures from tales by Gabdulla Tuqay or enjoy the freshness of the fountains, with images of doves and the figure of the mermaid Su Anasy, a famous Tatar fairytale character. You cantake a seat in the royal carriage of Catherine II (a replica of the one which the Empress toured Kazan in and later left to the city as a gift).

Kazan has recently officially confirmed the status of the "third capital of Russia." But as it turns out, the rulers of the past have already bestowed the same name on the city. "This city is undoubtedly the first in Russia after Moscow”, Empress Catherine II wrote in her travel diary.“ It is obvious that Kazan is the capital of a large realm. The reception I received along my way was very tender and the same throughout the provinces, but here seems special, seems to be a degree above the rest."

Bauman Street is also the location of the old pharmacy store once owned by the Brening family and the office of the State Bank, where the gold reserves of Russia were kept. At the Tea House you can sample delicious dishes, including those of the national cuisine.

Visitors to Kazan are often surprised to see a statue of a well-fed cat leisurely stretching his paws under a canopy. This is yet another iconic symbol of the city. As the legend goes, Empress Elizabeth on coming to Kazan was surprised that the city has very few mice. She ordered a shipment of cats from Kazan to St. Petersburg, where they were supposed to help eliminate rodents in the royal palace.

Leaving Bauman Street and going uphill to Kremlin Street, you will see the majestic building of the legendary University of Kazan at its one end. The university was founded in 1804. "If, as Peter the Great foresaw it, Russia is destined to move the West further into Asia and get Europe acquainted with the East,there can be no doubt that Kazan is to become the main caravanserai on the road of taking European ideas to Asia, and the Asian character to Europe. This was well conceived by Kazan University.

If it had limited itsdestiny to the propagation of European science, its role would have remained minor, and it would never have been able to catch up with our universities of Moscow and Dorpat, let alone the German ones. Now, however, it stands next to the former and has assumed a special place among them — a place that belonged to it by right of birth." Thus Alexander Herzen wrote about the historical mission of Kazan University.

The University is known as one of the largest centers of education and science. It is has developed a number of schools of thought in science and the humanities: physics, mathematics, chemistry, medicine, linguistics, geology and geo-botany. The list of its students and alumni is graced with the names of S.T. Aksakov, M.A. Balakirev, P.I. Melnikov-Pechersky, M. Minsky, D.L. Mordovtsev, Leo N. Tolstoy, V.I. Ulyanov (Lenin), Velimir Khlebnikov, N.A. Bush, V.F. Zaleski ...

Famous figures in 19th century Tatar scholarship and culture, such as QayyumNasyri, ShigabutdinMarjani and many others, unable at this time to attend the university, worked together with its researchers .

The University is proud of its outstanding scientific discoveries and achievements, such as the creation of non-Euclidean geometry (by Nikolai Lobachevsky), the theory of chemical structure (Alexander Butlerov), the discovery of ruthenium (Karl Klaus),of the electronic paramagnetic resonance (Evgeny Zavoysky), of the acoustic paramagnetic resonance (Semen Altshuler).

Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky—the "Copernicus of Geometry" —made his way from student to Rector (Chancellor) of the University of Kazan. His teaching career spanned more than 40 years, including 20 years of highest academic duty in service of the university. The scientist wrote a beautiful poem about his beloved city:

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Oh Queen of rivers, in your majestic flow
To the vast distant waters of the Caspian,
You make a turn for a rendez-vous
With the ancient Mother of Tatar cities!...
You embrace her as a dear friend
And greet her meadows with a tender stream,
And from your blue shoulders bring down your gifts
At the busy banks of the Bolak.

 

Kremlin Street has some of the most beautiful buildings in Kazan: the Ushkova mansion, now the National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan, Alexandrovsky Passage (a 19th century shopping mall). In the nearby Jalil Street, Sts. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral stands. Further on, near the Kazan Kremlin, you can find Kazan City Hall and the National Museum of Tatarstan.

Another beautiful and fully pedestrian venue is St. Petersburg Street, which is an extension of Bauman Street beyond Tuqay Square. It has been fully rebuilt to receive a new look, resembling a corner of St. Petersburg,with its fake bridges, lanterns and iron railings. At the beginning of the street stands a monument to Lev Gumilev, lexicographer, historian, orientalist, ethnologist and geographer. The monument symbolizes the idea of ​​tolerance and ethnic harmony. Not far from Bauman and St. Petersburg Streets lies the picturesque Millennium Park, and next to it, the embankment of Lake Kaban. On the bank of the lake stands the Galiaskar Kamal Tatar Drama Theater.

The first public performance in the Tatar language took place in Kazan over a hundred years ago, in December 1906. Since then, Tatar theatrehas been very popular in Kazan, and not only among ethnic Tatars, which is proved by the fact that most performances today are accompanied by simultaneous translation into Russian or English.

Connoisseurs of fine art can also enjoy the performances at the Saydashev Grand Concert Hall, the Concert Hall of the Tuqay Tatar State Philharmonic, Russian and Tatar Youth Theatres, the Mussa Jalil Kazan Opera House, the Ekiyat (Fairy Tale) Puppet Theatre, the Karim Tinchurin State Theatre of Drama and Comedy.

 

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Kazan, Kazan, the Tatar capital city,
You could never even have imagined
What a strong drink would brew
Under a closed lid of the boiling cauldron.

 

If you take a stroll along Lake Kaban, you can feel the oriental flavor of the OldTatar Settlement. Its overall look brings you back to later 19thcentury, when most local mosques was erected, such as the ones named after Azimov, Apanaev, Burnayev, Galeev, Sennaya (Haymarket), Marjani, Usmanov. The Marjani Mosque, located in the OldTatar Settlement, is one of the most interesting monuments of 18th century Tatar architecture. It combines the stylistic features of both national and provincial baroque. The Marjani became the first stone mosque built in Kazan after Catherine II permitted their construction. Originally it bore the name of the merchant Yunusov, its first patron and founder, and later was renamed in honor of the educator and its imam Sh. Marjani.

If you take a walk around the lake, down Hadi Taktash St., you can reach the wonderful world of flora and fauna which is the Kazan Zoological and Botanic Gardens. One of the oldest in Russia, it was founded in 1806 by university professor and future Rector Karl Fuchs. In the Gardens’ greenhouse some palms planted in the 19th century are still alive!

Running across probably the liveliest district of Kazan, the Bolakis a stream connecting Lake Kaban and the Kazankariver. Its name comes from the Tatar word "bolak", "a small stream." Historically, the Bolak divided Kazan into the Tatar and Russian parts. The area along the stream became the place of exchange and trade between the two ethnic communities. The steel bridges across the Bolak in a way are symbolic of the city, too — as a link between Tatar and Russian peoples.

Interestingly, these originally were drawbridges, which allowed barges to use the shallow Bolak during spring floods. The widest bridge over the Bolak stood where now runs one of the central arteries of the city — Pushkin Street.

Kazan is the literature capital of the Volga region. The city saw such famous writers and poets as Alexander Pushkin, Maxim Gorky and Leo Tolstoy. Gorky famously said, "...physically, I was born in Nizhny Novgorod, and spiritually, in Kazan. Kazan is the most favorite of my universities. "

Alexander Pushkin shared his Kazan experience in the following lines:

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If not for a vague impulse
Of the soul longing for something,
I would have stayed here to taste
The bliss in the silence unknown…

 

Every year on June 6 at the side of the Kazan Opera House young poets and art lovers come together to celebrate Russian culture at the Pushkin monument. This tradition goes back more half a century — to 1956, when the monument was erected.

On August 30, the literary Kazan meets on the other side of the Opera, at the monument to another great classic author, Gabdulla Tuqay. Flowers and lines of poetry lines on the Republic Day is only a small tribute to the memory of greatest literary symbol of Tatar culture. In the words of Tuqay:


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Native tongue, a holy tongue,
the language of father and mother,
How beautiful you are! I have found
a new world in your treasures!
My mother opened you to me,
rocking the cradle,
And I learned to understand Grandma’s fairy tales.
Mother tongue, mother tongue,
you’ve led me further on,
You exalted my joy
and brightened my sorrow.

 

Great authors of different ages lived and worked in Kazan, the towering figures of Tatar literature, the traditions of which have been laid by Qol Ghali in his poem Qissai Yosif (13thcentury).

Kazan has been a home for a host of famous people: globally renowned scientists, artists, composers, singers and poets. Some of them are: Gabdulla Tuqay (1886 — 1913) — poet, essayist, literary critic and social activist; Baki Urmanche (1897 — 1991) — artist, painter, sculptor, graphic artist who created hundreds of works in various genres; Galiaskar Kamal (1879 — 1933) — writer, playwright, actor, director, publisher; Vassily Kachalov (1875 — 1948) — People's Artist of the USSR; Gayaz Iskhaki (1878 — 1954) — writer, editor of "Tan" ("The Dawn");, Alexander Arbuzov (1877 — 1969) — founder of the famous school of chemistry; Karl Fuchs (1776 — 1846) — medical doctor, professor, founder of Kazan school of naturalists; QayyumNasyri (1825 — 1902) — writer, educator; Nikolai Lobachevsky (1792 — 1856) — mathematician, professor, author of the non-Euclidean geometry; Alexei Petrov- physicist, mathematician, founder of the Kazan school of gravity studies; Alexander Butlerov (1828 — 1886) — author of the theory of chemical structure, founder of Kazan school of organic chemistry; Nikolai Mislavsky (1854 — 1929) — physiologist, professor at Kazan University; MussaJalil (1906 — 1944) — Tatar poet and hero of the Great Patriotic War; Salih Saidashev (1900 — 1954) — composer, co-founder of Tatar professional music; Farid Yarullin (1914 — 1943) — composer, author of "Shurale: the Ballet"; Karim Tinchurin (1887 — 1938) — playwright, innovative theatre director and social activist; Fyodor Shaliapin (1873 — 1938) — great opera singer; Eugene Zavoisky (1917 — 1976) — physicist, founder of the school of magnetic radio-electroscopy; Shihabuddin Marjani (1818 — 1889) — great educator, philosopher, historian, ethnographer and orientalist; Nikolai Feshin (1881 — 1955) — impressionist and modernist painter; Alexander Rodchenko (1891 — 1956) — avant-garde artist; Vasily Aksenov — Russian writer. This brilliant list can go on and on with no end... Many names of still living famous people — scientists, educators, writers, musicians, activists and athletes — can be added to it.

Kazan has become a major multicultural center of art. Annual international theater and music festivals include the Shaliapin International Opera Festival, the Rudolf Nureyev Festival of Classical Ballet,

theEurope-Asia International Festival of Contemporary Chamber Music, International Piano Forum and the Concordia Sofia Gubaidulina International Festival of Contemporary Music. Since 2007, the city has hosted the Aksenov-Fest of modern literature and music, and since 2008 it has been the venue of The Creation of Peace, a rock and ethnic music festival.

"The importance of Kazan is huge: it is a place for a rendezvous between the two worlds. Hence it has two faces, the Western and Eastern, and you meet them at every corner. Acting upon each other, they rubbed shoulders and became friends, forming some distinctive character together". These are the words the classic Russian author Alexander Herzen found for the city.

And those words are still true when it comes to the philosophy of Kazan, which permeates all spheres of life in the metropolis. The millennium-longmutual enrichment of cultures has shaped the modern Euro-Asian image of Kazan. Cultures of Europe and Asia are closely intertwined here, in folklore and art, in architecture and construction, and — last but not least -in the daily life of its citizens. Folk festivals are held annually in Kazan and its vicinity, often revived on the basis of surviving ethnic traditions and rituals. The village Russkoye Nikolskoye is the venue for the Karavon — a Russian folklore festival. Many venues are open for the Sabantuy — Tatar national festival of the plough. Religious holidays are also honored, especially the Orthodox ones: Trinity Day, Christmas, Easter and the Moslem Kurban Bairam (Eid al-Fitr) and Uraza Bairam (Eid al-Adha).

Kazan, the city of amazing destiny, cherishes its history, traditions and customs, at the same time developing new features and looking into the future.

For thelast several years, the city has lived in the anticipation of the Universiade, and it can be seen almost anywhere in its streets...

Kazan is the City of Champions, the sporting capital of Russia. The millennium-old metropolis has an amazing sporting heritage. The city gave to the world such Olympic stars as Naila Gilyazova, Valentin Nikonov, Olga Knyazeva (fencing, rapier), Lyudmila Shubina (handball), Lydia Loginova (volleyball), Daria Shkurihina (rhythmic gymnastics), Alexander Kurynov, Nikolai Kolesnikov (Olympic weightlifting), Gulnara Galkina-Samitova, Yuliya Zaripova (track-and-field), to name just a few.

The darling of Kazan fans isFC Rubin, two-time champion of Russia (2008, 2009), winner of the Cup of Russia (2012), two national Super Cups (2010 and 2012). In the Champions League,Rubin has beaten FC Barcelona, the best team in the world at Nou Camp, their own ground! Rubin has become a leader of Russian football.

The tulip, a detail of Tatar ornament and a symbol of rebirth, is featured on the emblem of the 2013 Universiade

Ice hockey club Ak Bars is another among the many star clubs from Kazan. Champions of Russia (1998, 2005/2006), winners of the much-coveted Gagarin Cup of the CHL (2008/2009, 2009/2010), Ak Bars made a number of its players famous. Such leaders of the Russian national team as Zaripov, Morozov or Nikulin, are known to everyone in our country.

UNICS basketball team have gained recognition in Europe due to participation in the most prestigious trophy of the Old World, the Euroleague, where our team have reached the quarter-finals, losing only to the renowned Barcelona. UNICSis the winner of the two National Cups (2003 and 2009), and of the FIBA Euroleague (2004).

Kazan became famous in volleyball as well, with Zenit-Kazan and Dinamo-Kazan gaining new success nationally and at world tournaments. Mikhailov, Apalikov, Obmochaev and Berezhkoof Zenit-Kazan became Olympic champions in London. And volleyball fans will always rememberthe 2008 and 2012 victories in the European Champions League. Dinamo-Kazan can be proud of its winning the national championship in 2011 and 2012. Bandy (Russian hockey) is represented in the city by another team also called Dinamo-Kazan, and they, too, have tasted national championship in 2010/2011.Strela are Kazan’s flagship rugby club and a five-time national champion.

The water polo team Sintez arose on the basis of Orgsintez, one of the largest plants in the city. In 2007 Sintez became champions of Russia. As you see, it was many a victory that gave Kazan the title of "City of Champions".

In Tatarstan, every condition for the effective development of the sport has been met. Another pride of the region is its brand-new International Equestrian Sports Center, the largest racecourse in Russia! Besides hosting races for the prizes of Russia and Tatarstan, it also features a riding school devoted to three Olympic sports — show jumping, dressage and equestrian triathlon.

Along with the multi-purpose Central stadium, Kazan has an athletic arena. The Vysokaya Gora automobile racetrack is a cult place for all lovers of engines and rallies. Competitions on various levels are held here, from stages of national championship to major international races. In 2009, Kazan welcomed the participants of the Silk Road Rally—and international event, which had among its participants the KAMAZ-Master crew of Firdaus Kabirov and Vladimir Chagin. Lake Kaban has twice been chosen the venue for the spectacular "Formula 1 on water” (F1H2O) show.

Basket Hall — the home ground for UNICS — in 2011 opened its doors to European Olympic weightliftingchampionship. TatneftArena, in addition to traditional ice hockey games and figure skating competitions, hosts TNA Impact Wrestling shows. The Ak Bars Martial Arts Palace was chosen as the venue for Koresh (Tatar wrestling) World Cup. Kazan Kremlin Tennis Cup has now got its respectable home, at the Kazan Tennis Academy.

It has no analogues in Russia in terms of equipment quality, just as the new Dynamofield hockey center. The Rubin-Arena, Kazan’s brand new football stadium, will host the matches of the 2018World Cup.

Kazan is getting ready for the summer sport festival of 2013 — the Universiade (International Student Games). Kazan’s “cauldron” has almost literally been “boiling” for several years — construction projects spring up fast around the city. Dozens of unique objects have been built for this wonderful event, but will no doubt continue to contribute to the development of sports in the region. Multi-use sports facilities, such as the Bustan, Burevestnik (Thunderbird), Itil, Olympus, and many others have already been formally assigned to the many universities of our city. Universiade has transformed the city, improving its urban infrastructure: roads, overpasses, the Metro...

Kazan trains its champions, creates conditions for all its inhabitants to develop themselves, laying widest opportunities open to them. “Oh sport, You Are Peace!" has been a popular slogan since the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and for a reason. Day by day, the capital of Tatarstan is getting more beautiful, revealing the full potential of the “Sports Capital of Russia" brand.

People of Kazan believe that the greatest victories are yet to come!