In a feature called “Did You Know?,” we will highlight a place or item of particular interest about an upcoming program. This first entry is on a city that is called Russia’s “Third Capital,” yet is not widely known to most travelers.
Capital of the Republic of Tatarstan and one of Russia’s oldest centers of culture, science, trade and religion, Kazan celebrated its millennium in 2005. Its enormous and eclectic kremlin includes the blue-domed Kul-Sharif Mosque, one of the largest in Europe; the 16th century Annunciation Cathedral; the palace of the president; and Syuyumbeki’s Tower, a symbol of the city. Upon its designation as a World Heritage Site, UNESCO stated: “The only surviving Tatar fortress in Russia and an important place of pilgrimage, the Kazan Kremlin consists of an outstanding group of historic buildings dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, integrating remains of earlier structures of the 10th to 16th centuries.”
Other Kazan facts of note: Both Leo Tolstoy and Vladmir Lenin attended Kazan State University. And Kazan will be one of the Russian host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.