The Tatar national dishes will cater to the wishes of the most demanding tourists: they are delicious, substantial, and affordable. Öçpoçmaq is a mouthwatering triangular pastry with meat and potato stuffing, and çäkçäk is the pieces of roasted dough drenched in home-made liquid honey, which is othen used to greet guests. The local cuisine is represented by a great variety of meals. Meat aficionados, vegetarians and dessert connoisseurs will all find something to their taste here. Read more about what to eat in Kazan here.
Formerly home to the Tatar poets and educators, the Staro-Tatarskaya Sloboda is a historical district of Kazan. Strolling down the Staro-Tatarskaya Sloboda streets, keep eyes open to explore authentic wooden houses, magnificent mosques, and cozy backyards. Find original souvenirs to take home in the numerous craftwork stores nestled across the neighborhood. Read more about the Staro-Tatarskaya Sloboda here.
The Söyembikä Tower is the leaning tower, the history of which features numerous legends and enigmas. The legend has it that the proud queen Syuimbike, who was promised to Ivan the Terrible, jumped off the tower to escape the marriage. There is another legend that if you lean your back or head against the tower to "hold" it and make a wish, it will certainly come true.
The Kazan Cat is the citizens' favorite hero of legends and fairy tales. Legend has it the Kazan cats saved the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg from rat infestation, and to this day, they continue to keep their eye on the collection of the State Hermitage Museum. The Kazan Cat Statue is located on the Baumana Street, and it is supposed to be good luck among the locals and tourists to rub his belly.
In 2005, the miraculous copy of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan was handed to Kazan by Pope John Paul II. Today it is kept in the Cross Cathedral that was built on the spot where the icon had been found.
The residents of the island city of Sviyazhsk excel in astounding treats such as local bread and cakes, but the tourists get most excited over the pancakes fresh out of the oven, which are served with honey, sour cream or jam. Read more about the island city of Sviyazhsk here.
Head out of the city to explore the ancient ruins of the Bolgar civilization by the Volga riverside. The ancient city of Bolgar houses the renowned White Mosque and many other sights. In the "Memorial Sign Commemorating Volga Bulgars Adopting of Islam in 922" where you will see the biggest printed Quran in the world. Read more about Velikyi Bolgar here.
The quaint Palace of Farmers is a true mecca for tourists and photo aficionados from around the world. The central element of the facade represents the "tree of life" which helps you to plunge into the magic atmosphere of fairy tales and provides the splendid background for the photos. Read more about the Palace of Farmers here.
The Raifa men monastery is the functioning monastery. Located not so far from Kazan, It is open for visiting. The landscape surrounding the monastery provides the piece and quite for every one wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. There is a picturesque pond by the monastery with frogs that never croak not to disturb the monks' prayers. Read more about the Raifa Monastery here.
Various plays in Tatar feature the Galiaskar Kamal Tatar Academic Theatre repertoire: comedies, dramas, musicals, masterpieces of world classics, and works of national writers. This is the right spot to soak up the Tatar culture and enjoy the sound the Tatar language. For those not familiar with the Tatar language, the simultaneous interpretation into Russian and English is provided.