Welcome to Kazan, host of 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup matches and host city of the 2018 FIFA World Cup!

Welcome to Kazan, host of 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup matches and host city of the 2018 FIFA World Cup!
Kazan, one of Russia's largest cities, is located on the left bank of the Volga River. Muslim minarets and Christian monasteries, ancient settlements and the Innopolis center for Innovation and Culture coexist peacefully in this surprisingly diverse city which has already hosted numerous major sports events.

In 2011, Kazan hosted the European Weightlifting Championships. In 2013, it hosted the 27th Summer Universiade. In 2015, the city hosted the World Aquatics Championships and it has already hosted the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
©Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/The Kazan Kremlin
©Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/The Kazan Kremlin
There are at least eight stories explaining the origin of the city's name.

The most popular legend has it that, before building Kazan, its residents first visited a sorcerer who advised them to find a place where a cauldron dug into the ground and filled with water would start boiling all by itself. The appropriate place was found on the shore of Lake Kaban where the new city emerged.

According to other stories, the city owes its name to its cauldron-shaped landscape.

Kazan is believed to have been founded in the year 1005 and is therefore over 1,000 years old. Local residents are particularly proud of this fact.

Numerous trade routes linking the East and the West passed through the city.
In 1552, the forces of Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible seized Kazan, destroyed most of its buildings and relocated city residents to the shores of Lake Kaban. St. Basil's Cathedral, one of the most famous Russian architectural landmarks, was built in Moscow to commemorate this victory.
1. ©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/The Cathedral of Peter and Paul , foreground, Spasskaya Tower of the Kazan Kremlin, center, and Qolsharif Mosque
2. ©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/Apanayevskaya (Baiskaya) Mosque, a religious architecture landmark of Tatarstan dating back to the late 19th century
3. ©Sputnik/Roman Kruchinin/The Kazan Family Center
4. ©Sputnik/Roman Kruchinin/From left: Qolsharif Mosque, Spasskaya Tower of the Kazan Kremlin and Cathedral of Peter and Paul in Kazan
5. ©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/Palace of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan
6. ©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/The National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan
In the 18th century, the city became an educational and cultural center of the Volga region and it received the status of a major research center in the 19th century.

In 2005, local residents celebrated the city's 1,000th anniversary in an impressive setting. The Kazan metro, the Millennium Bridge and some other facilities were built in the run-up to the event.

In 2013, Kazan hosted the Summer Universiade, the largest in terms of participants and the number of sports awards. In all, 11,759 athletes from 162 countries attending the event vied for 351 sets of medals in 27 different sports.
©Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/The Kazan Kremlin
©Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/The Kazan Kremlin
Things to see
The Kazan Kremlin is not just the city's main symbol but is an entire assembly of architectural, historical and archeological landmarks unraveling the city's long history. Here, one can see the remains of the first, second and third ancient settlements dating back to the 12th-13th, 14th-15th and 15th-16th centuries, respectively, as well as a white-stone Kremlin.

This assembly is included on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/Suyumbike Tower
The seven-tier Suyumbike Watchtower is part of the Kazan Kremlin. Together with the world-famous Tower of Pisa, it ranks among leaning towers and tilts considerably to the northeast. The latest officially measured deviation of its spire from the vertical axis is 1.98 meters.

The exact date of founding the tower and its origin are not known.
©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/Qolsharif Mosque in Kazan
One can also see Qolsharif Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Europe, at the Kazan Kremlin. This is a replica of the original 16th century mosque that was demolished during the conquest of the city. At that time, Qolsharif Mosque also acted as a center of religious education and research in the central part of the Volga region.

The mosque was named after the last imam, one of those who commanded the defense of Kazan.
Qolsharif Mosque's dome is decorated in the style of a Kazan Hat – a gold crown made in the mid-16th century after the conquest of Kazan and worn by Tatar Khans.

The mosque was restored in the run-up to the city's 1,000th anniversary in 2005 using numerous public donations. Over 40,000 local residents contributed to the funding of the restoration project.
1. ©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/A boy examines a model of Qolsharif Mosque at the Kazan Kremlin Museum-Reserve, Kazan
2. ©Sputnik/Konstantin Chalabov/Qolsharif Mosque in Kazan
3. ©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/Italian artisans manufactured the world's largest printed edition of the Quran weighing 800 kg especially for Tatarstan
4. ©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/An interactive Quran at Qolsharif Mosque, part of the Kazan Kremlin Museum-Reserve, Kazan
In 1726, the Cathedral of Peter and Paul was built in place of the same wooden church in Kazan. According to legend, the cathedral's construction was financed by a Kazan merchant and an owner of a cloth factory. Several years earlier, Russian Emperor Peter the Great stayed at the merchant's home and celebrated his 50th birthday there. The cathedral was built in honor of this memorable event.

Local residents called the ready-made cathedral, the Hanging Gardens of Kazan. The cathedral's name is derived from the lavish stucco molding decorating its walls. After numerous fires, the building was restored and altered many times. However, the priests managed to preserve its main decoration, a nine-tier 25-metre carved-wood iconostasis and several important icons.

The Farmers' Palace, now housing the republican Ministry of Agriculture and Food has become the city's modern landmark. The building is located not far away from the Kazan Kremlin.
1. ©Sputnik/Roman Kruchinin/Farmers' Palace in Kazan
2. ©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/Cathedral of Peter and Paul in Kazan
3. ©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/The Kazan Family Center
4. ©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/Temple of All Religions
The Kazan Family Center the shape of which is reminiscent of a legend on the origin of Kazan also attracts much attention. This copper cauldron also symbolizes affluence and fertility.

It's interesting that the top of this unusual registry office is decorated with a metal bas-relief with winged leopards and dragons, as well as an observation deck located 32 meters above ground which offers a spectacular view of the city.

The Temple of All Religions, also known as the International Center of Cultural Heritage, is located on the city's outskirts, in the town of Staroye Arakchino. The building has features similar to those of an Orthodox Christian church, a Muslim mosque, a Jewish synagogue plus a pagoda. However, no religious services are held here because the creator conceived the building as a symbol of uniting religions, cultures and civilizations.
©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/Kazan Arena
©Sputnik/Maksim Bogodvid/Kazan Arena
Kazan Arena
On September 29, 2012, it was announced that Kazan would host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The four-tier Kazan Arena accommodating about 45,000 spectators was built in the run-up to the 2013 Summer Universiade. It became the first Russian football stadium to be built prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The stadium looks like a water lily from the air.

The stadium hosted the Summer Universiade's opening and closing ceremonies and all the main competitions. In 2015, it hosted the World Aquatics Championships. The football field was removed and replaced with two huge swimming pools. After the competitions, Kazan Arena became a football stadium once again and hosted a match between Rubin Kazan and Lokomotiv Moscow.

In 2017, the stadium hosted several 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup group qualifier matches. It also hosted the first tournament semifinals between Portugal and Chile.

Apart from football matches and other sports events, the Kazan Arena hosts various concerts and other mass cultural events.
©Sputnik/Vladimir Astapkovich/Inside the Kazan Arena
©Sputnik/Vladimir Astapkovich/Inside the Kazan Arena
How to get there
By plane: Kazan International Airport, one of Russia's largest, is located 26 km from the city. It receives flights from several European countries and caters to major flag carriers.

By train: the city's Northern and Central railway stations service the main railway routes all across Russia. It takes 12.5 hours and about 24 hours to reach Kazan from Moscow and St. Petersburg, respectively.

By bus: it takes 15 hours and just over 24 hours to reach Kazan from Moscow and St. Petersburg.
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