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100 Photos of Kazan

The Travelling Monkeys took a train from Moscow to Kazan. They covered first 800 km of 5500 on their way to Baikal. They travelled for more than 11 hours, but when they woke up they were still in Europe.
Where Orient Meets Occident
Kazan is a city with a rich history which reaches back more than 1.000 years. Once it was the capital oft the Khanate of Kazan and well known as a trade center, for its mosques, and its palaces. After the conquest by Ivan The Terrible in 1552, Kazan became the first non-Russian city in the Russian Empire. Today, Kazan is a European city with an Asian soul. It is the capital of the Autonomos Republic of Tatarstan and the main center of Islam in the Russian Federation. Kazan lies on the banks of the Volga and is located 800 km east of Moscow. The city is best known for ist fortress, the Kremlin of Kazan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year 2000. During the last couple of years Kazan developed into a modern European city. A big part of this development happened due to a few international sport events Kazan had been hosting. The Travelling Monkeys arrived in Kazan just at the end of the FINA World Aquatics Championship. The city was well prepared for the invasion of foreigners.
1. Welcome to Kazan.
2. Kazan's train station...
3. ...and its modern extention.
4. The bus station is directly beside the train station.
5. The square in front of the train station is clean and nice. People seem to feel comfortable.
The Travelling Monkeys had two days to explore Kazan. They thought that would be enough. It was indeed enough to see all significant parts of the central area. However, it was not enough to enjoy the city to the fullest. They were enchanted by the atmosphere of Kazan: something they had never expected to experience in an ordinary Russian city. ...but wait: Kazan is not an ordinary city!
Bimbino and Bambina had a long walk around the city. It was a joyful walk, not only for the body, but for the eyes. Most of the buildings were well renovated, and the architecture was mostly nice. Even in some soviet building were put some efforts. They walked down Karl Marx Street, one of the main streets leading to the Kremlin. On their way they saw dozens of universities and schools, museums, and governmental buildings. The street is indeed full of buildings. And most of them are beautiful.
6. Kazan State Agricultural University. Agriculture is one of the main drivers for the economy in Tatarstan. It is one of the three biggest agricultural regions in Russia. The ministry of agriculture is as well one of the richest ministries in Tatarstan.
7. Kazan Ballet School.
8. A building with a "KAMAZ" flag on its the portal. Probably its headquarters in Kazan?
9. Kazan Museum of Arts.
10. Just a house.
11. Kazan's coat of arms.
12. The town hall of Kazan.
13. Freedom Square with a statue of Lenin. Normally a square with Lenin is the ugliest square of a city. But not in Kazan.
14. Lenin is facing the Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.
15. There are a few cute small wooden buildings in central Kazan.
16. Unfortunately some of them are quite run down.
17. This yard has big potential to become a nice public space, but a lot of investment is required. Kazan should have money for that.
18. Some buildings are in the process of renovation. For the time of renovation (or awaiting of renovation) the façades are hidden under creative covers. "All you need is love!"
It is nice to see a Russian city developing to the better. Construction sites, new facilities, better public transport, everything is going forward in Kazan.
19. One is working, the rest is watching.
20. Great! Public bicycles.
21. Bus schedule. The name of the stop is written in three languages: Russian, Tatar and English.
22. A map provided by Yandex, the most popular search engine in the Russian speaking world. (Google couldn't beat it yet!)
23. Every official information panel is displayed in Tatar...
24. ...and in Russian language. This is the State University of Technology. Kazan is full of universities. It seems like every second building is a university.
25. Opposite of the Kremlin there is the Antikremlin Café. Radicals!
26. Looking back at Karl Marx Street.
27. One of the most beautiful, posh, and touristic streets of Kazan, the Kremlin Street. The Travelling Monkeys didn't go there.
The Marvellous Citadel
Contrary to the belief of many people, 'kremlin' is not just the name of the governmental district in Moscow but a general word which describes a fortified, central complex found in various Russian cities. Kazan's Kremlin is one of the most beautiful examples for such Russian citadels and it deserves its title as a World Heritage Site not without a reason. Bimbino and Bambina were enchanted by the place which's origins date back to the 10th century. What makes Kazan's Kremlin so special is the fact, that it is the only Russian fortress with a mosque within it's wall. Watchtowers, church towers and minaretes stand here side by side in harmony.
28. The entrance to the Kremlin area is free of charge. Being inspired by the feeling of freedom Bimbino decided to do some yoga.
29. Bambina joined the activity.
30. The newly built Qol Şärif Mosque is the biggest mosque in Europe.
31. A man reading out of the Quran in Qol Şärif Mosque. His voice is transmitted via speakers over the whole building.
32. Qol Şärif Mosque can accommodate up to 6.000 worshipers.
33. Beautiful islamic decoration.
34. A model of an the original Mosque, which was destroyed by Ivan The Terrible. The Qol Şärif Mosque was only inaugurated in 2005 for celebrations dedicated to the Millennium of Kazan .
35. Orthodox monks on the way to the mosque, together with an imam.
36. A late comer.
37. Soyembika, the leaning tower of Kazan. Beside it the Governor's Palace.
38. The Annunciation Cathedral. Its bell tower was demolished during the Soviet times.
39. View from the Kremlin's wall: The Ministry of Agriculture of Tatarstan. The most questionable building of Kazan. One of the symbols of the city. Beside there is one of the most expensive residential buildings of Kazan.
40. View from the Kremlin's wall: the other side of the Kazanka River is packed with residential high-rise buildings. Must be a beautiful view from there.
41.View from the Kremlin's wall: panorma with the newly built Kazan Arena In the background. One ofthe stadiums that will host the FIFA World Cup 2018.
42. In the past this was the main building of an artillery yard, nowadays it is a canteen.
43. Mussa Jalil was a Soviet Tatar poet and resistance fighter. This monument is a symbol of freedom and courage. Mussa is chained, but he strives to brake the bonds and fight for freedom. This monument is located in front of the Spasskaya Tower. It was built in the XVI century and was defending the main entrance to the Kazan Kremlin.
Kazan's Main Artery
Bauman street lies in the very heart of Kazan and runs between the Kremlin and Tukay Square, the main plaza of the city. The street is an example of typical pedestrianized area like you can find in many other European cities, but only seldom in Russia. On a length of 1.300 meters Bauman Street has everything: shops, cafés, bars, clubs, museums, galleries, sculptures and fountains. Bauman Street is Kazan's main artery, especially in summer it is full of people and life. Don't wonder if you pass by acrobats, street performers, painters or musicians while strolling it down.
44. At the beginning of Bauman Street. Bauman Street is a long pedestrian street in the center of the city. It is full of street artists, souvenir shops, cafés, and tourists.
45. Bimbino and Bambina enjoyed walking there and watching the street life of Kazan. They could feel fresh, young, and modern spirit of Kazan.
46. A new trend in Russian: patriotic t-shirts.Instead of buying, many people just take pictures with the shirts.
47. My friend. Putin t-shirts seem to be popular among all Russians. Not only the people who love Putin purchase them but also his critics. Putin fans buy the t-shirts, because they believe in the idea. Others buythem out of mere play and irony.
48. Another summer trend: henna tattoos.
49. The life of Transformers is hard in Russia. They have to engage in photo prostitution.
50. A cheap vegetarian canteen on Bauman Street. Various pictures and prints at the entrance explain how bad it is to eat animals.
51. You can have a very good meal for about 150 Rubles (≈ 2,- €).
52. Crazy babushkas. These old ladies were deaf and dumb, but they made it clear that they wanted to sit at the table where Bimbino and Bambina were finishing their lunch. They were insisting that the monkeys left straight away after their plates became empty, even though the Travelling Monkeys wanted to sit and relax a bit after their meal. For some reason they wanted exactly that table. Don't be deceived by their friendly looks. Those ladies were evil!
53. There is a 'Museum of Happy Childhood' in Kazan.
54. The Bell Tower of the Epiphany Cathedral. A landmark of Kazan.
55. Kill Fish is a chain of very cheap bars originated in Saint-Petersburg. They have ridiculously cheap alcoholic drinks, and snacks and are mostly popular among poor students.
The Tatar District
Central Kazan is divided in two districts, one being historically Russian, the other Tartar. Staro-Tatarskaya Sloboda - the Tartar quater lies right beside Lake Qaban, in between the Bolaq Canal and the Volga. Tatars are a Turkic people devided into differnt groups. Kazan is home to the Volga Tatars. This ethnic group composes 53% of the population of Tatarstan.
The Tatar distrcit of Kazan is one of the most picturesque in the city. Lovingly renovated wooden houses in manifold colors line the streets. In between, baroque style buildings crowned with minarets. A little jewel that has no equal in Europe.
56. Nurulla Mosque from the middle of the 19th century.
57. Märcani Mosque, built in 1766-1770 by Catherine the Great's authority. It was Kazan's first mosque built in the times of Imperial Russia.
58. Apanayevskaya Mosque, another example for a baroque style mosque.
59. Beautiful.
After the Siege of Kazan in 1552 all the Tatars were sent out of the city and some founded a settlement near the city walls. Most of the Tatar people living there were merchants and handicraft masters.
Nowadays this part of the city is well reconstructed, renovated, and tourist friendly. It has nice restaurants, shops, museums. The wooden buildings are nicely painted in a traditional way. Why don't they do it all over Russia?
60. Street art Tatar style.
61. A well renovated yard in Kayuma Nasyri Street.
62. The girls are hiding in the corner to smoke a cigarette.
63. So colorful. So beautiful.
64. Filigree details.
65. ...and every house so different.
66. Just amazing.
67. Even the gates are little masterpieces.
68. Bimbino rented an old car to make this photo a little bit more special.
69. Some houses are a bit more decent.
70. Kayuma Nasyri Street.
71. Art.
72. Inside the Museum of Chakchak. Chakchak is traditional Tatar sweet stuff made of dough and fried with honey.
73. Street deco. Slightly exaggerated, but nice.
Interesting, strange, disappointing, enchanting...
Not everything can be perfect but even abandoned places in Kazan have their special character. After all, Kazan is still a Russian city.
74. Just one street away from the old Tatar village nobody cares that a park looks wild and unfriendly with bed of nettles. No benches to sit on.
75. Just like it was forgotten.
76. A parking lot.
Some examples of modern architecture. Interesting? Strange? Or disappointing?
77. A beautiful clock on Tukay Square. Behind it one of the weirdest building in the city. Focus on the huge ring above the entrance.
78. Mayan or Egyptian? The monkeys couldn't find out.
79. The World Trade Center of Kazan. Amazing how it resembles its namesake in New York City.
Some things cannot be defined as good or bad. They are just interesting.
80. A new trend all around Russia is to paint zebra crossings in white and yellow. It looks happier :) It must be confusing for children though. They might have wrong idea of zebras now.
81. Why are Russians considered unfriendly? They don't smile and always look down. Reason for this might be their concerns about their own safety.Nobody wants to get screwed by a screw sticking out of the sidewalk.
Kazan by night is rather enchanting.
82. Lake Qaban during twilight.
83. It's getting dark.
84. Kazan by night. The monkeys' host showed Bimbino and Bambina one of his favourite spots: a rooftop. Regardless the fact that they could only see the nearby block buildings, for the monkeys this was an awesome experience.
The Volga Beach
Kazan has more to offer than only architecture and culture. The city is located on the Kuybyshev Sea, the biggest artificial lake in Europe. It was created by the construction of dam in the Volga. Right beside the city center there is a small sand beach. A beautiful place for swimming and sunbathing, wan't it for one little detail.
85. The Volga beach is just a couple of hundred meters West of the main train station.
86. Just over the bridge. It's the way to the beach.
87. A crash course on lifesaving.
88. An old Soviet style swing.
89. Everything seems to be beautiful if not for...
90. ...GARBAGE.
91. Trash bins don't help.
92. Sand is full of plastic.
93. Nobody cleans up.
94. Drunk leftovers.
95. And nobody cares. Plastic pieces are too small to be noticed on a bigger picture.
Plastic garbage is a big problem in Russia. People are so used to live with garbage they stop noticing it around them. It made the Travelling Monkeys sad and disappointed not only once during their travels in Russia.
The Cauldron
Their last hours in Kazan the Travelling Monkeys spent on the northern shore of the Kazanka River, right opposite of the Kremlin. Here is the location of a building called the Kazan Family Center. Despite its dissuasive name the Family Center of Kazan was one of the most interesting buildings Bimbino and Bambina had ever seen. The center resembles an huge traditional cauldron standing on a fire. From the top the monkeys could admire the panorama of the city, and around the building they could hang out on the lawn and enjoy the sunshine. The second is very untypical for Russia. Usually there are information panels telling "Don't step on this grass!"
96. My Kazan.
97. Inside the cauldron.
98. Kazan and its Kremlin.
Couchsurfing
Bimbino and Bambina are active Couchsurfers. In Cologne they host travellers almost every week. When they go travelling they cannot imagine staying in a hostel anymore. The Travelling Monkeys stayed with a local Couchsurfer Roman in his creative studio (http://www.mk-kzn.ru), which he organized together with his brother Max. They arrange workshops for children and adults, presentations, table games, small concerts, movie nights, etc. Studio seems to be very busy and popular. Great to see that people of Kazan are interested in such simple entertaining and uniting concept.
99. Roman is explaining the monkeys how to behave. They seem to understand each other.
100. Cat Vasily is a symbol of Creative Studio of Vasiliev Brothers.
Afterwards there was a short drive with a taxi to the train station, quick dinner and shopping, and the Travelling Monkeys had to get on their train going further east. Next stop was Ekaterinburg...
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