Welcome to Kazan!
Located between the east and west, Kazan, Russia, is one of those unique places in the world that takes its ancient influence from different people in different geographic locations, resulting in a sort of melting pot that gives Kazan its culture. Coincidentally, the word “Kazan” is related to the word “stewing pot,” which is pretty appropriate considering that Kazan is a mixture of Tartar and Slavic cultures.
Kazan’s history is over 100 years older than Moscow and is an up and coming city seeing more visitors and tourists than ever before. A worldwide local knows that the perfect time to visit is during the summer. This is when the Kazan weather is ideal and is less busy than in the spring months. Our insider’s guide will reveal the new and refreshing experiences mixed with the old history, such as the stunning Kazan Cathedral, providing a great exploration of Kazan.
Worldwide Local Tip: Since the 1970s, Kazan has had a reputation of being a bit of a dangerous place, even so far as to have a sociological phenomenon named after it. Since the late 90s that has started to change; however, as a tourist, you may still be a target. Exercise caution when walking alone and try to avoid being alone at night. Be aware of your surroundings and you’ll be okay. Things are safer in Kazan; city travel, however, will always be at least a little risky.
Start in the Center of the City
Once arriving in Kazan, you’ll want to get the most out of it and see the hotspots right away. If you’re looking to get acquainted with locals and other visitors, wander Bauman street. The pedestrian-only walkway is the main vein of the city, with people walking around and business happening here practically 24/7. It’s a favorite spot for locals to come hang out, where there are plenty of cafes and restaurants around during the day, as well as some bars and clubs at night. If you’re looking to rub shoulders with the locals, then this is the spot to do it!
Worldwide Local Tip: Bauman street is also one of the oldest in the city, and as such there are a bunch of landmarks nearby as well. While here, make sure to walk the length of the street and check out nearby monuments like the Epiphany Church and the weirdly iconic cat monument of Kazan.
Eat Like a Local
A worldwide local knows that getting in touch with a new culture requires indulging in some of the local food. Kazan is great for foodies looking to try something new and different. Because of the city’s location (and officially being in the Republic of Tatarstan), there is a myriad of delectable dishes that visitors should try. Head to Bilyar for some authentic Tartar style cuisine served in a special Kazan restaurant that’s been made to look like the interior of a Tartar log cabin. There’s also Priyut Kholostyaka (meaning Bachelor’s Paradise), which might sound like a strip-club but they serve European and Russian inspired dishes. There are also a number of Georgian and Turkish places around town, so make sure to arrive with an empty stomach!
Worldwide Local Tip: For a local delicacy, definitely, try out some chak-chak. The Tartar sweet treat, is a ball of dough and honey, almost like a doughnut that’s served at special celebrations. There’s even a museum of chak-chak that showcases the history of Tartar food and shows off many local delicacies. Get cultured and indulge your sweet tooth at the same time!
Kazan Time Traveling
Experience the life of old and pretend you’re a Tartar traveler, heading to a faraway market place at the Central Market. The market may have a boring name but it is anything but boring. Experience all cross-sections of life here, from local vendors selling their wares to babushkas selling their homegrown berries, beets, and foraged mushrooms. The Central Market is a great place to experience the average life of a local. Sit back, buy some food, and watch the world go by, or do a little shopping and bring back some kitschy soviet-era antique as a souvenir.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re into really getting a look at what life was like in Kazan in the yesteryears, head to the Soviet Lifestyle Museum. Learn about the average life of a citizen behind the Iron Curtain and look at apartments and lives from the 1930s to the 1990s. You can even dress up in Soviet era clothes.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Kazan is a pretty interesting place, and it is no surprise why it is becoming a bigger tourist location. The food scene is great, the history and culture are certainly interesting, and there’s always something happening in the city with people around enjoying the best of it. A worldwide local knows that a city with history offers an amazing cultural experience. This is especially true of a city that’s seen an increase in visitors, because it offers fun new things, making Kazan definitely worth visiting!