July 20th and 21st
25.07.2018 24 °C
Kazan is a lovely city, much more playful and relaxed than Yekaterinburg. Our Hotel window looks down on the main mall that runs through the centre of the city. It has a lovely atmosphere with buskers and other attractions with a real festive feel. Heard "Knock, knock, knocking on Heaven's door" in Russian . Enjoyed sampling the delights and strolling along. And of course the first thing you do in Kazan is have your picture taken with a giant Babooshka (actually a Matryoshka as it is almost impossible to find an original Babooshka doll) or try on a ridiculous hat (not happy Jan).
Not looking too proud at this particular point of time.n Or you could pose with one of the fat cats of Russia.
Kazan was originally settled by Tartars who emerged from northern Turkey and ancient Bulgaria about 1,000 years ago.
They came with Islam and ethnic and cultural markers reflective of their origins. In the 1500's Ivan the Terrible attacked and subdued the Tartars, absorbing them into the Russian territories. This history is still present in the make-up of the community, ethnically and religiously and there is still acknowledgement of the Tartar tradition within the composition of local government and in the even distribution of mosques and Orthodox churches.
We spent a couple of days visiting the Kazan Kremlin (a fortified citadel within a Russian city) an intriguing collection of buildings brought together over hundreds of years, from foundations believed to be nearly 1,000 years to the medieval era around the time of Ivan the Terrible right up to the present day to a very significant mosque built very recently on the original site where it had been destroyed in the 1500's.
We found street bikes for hire and tried logging on to the website to pay . It was very confusing and although we managed to get one bike we were not able to get a second so we had limited access around the city (guess who got the bike). On the second day we were able to get 2 bikes so we had greater access around the city.
Riding is very tiring work and also thirsty work