Blogs from Kazan, Volga, Russia, Europe

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Europe » Russia » Volga » Kazan July 20th 2019

Planning this trip I briefly looked at the option of staying on the train all the way from Moscow to Mongolia, until I saw that was like 5 or so solid days on a train! So a combination of reading and time tables led me first to Kazan, a relatively short hop @ 12 hrs east of Moscow, where I arrived to 27 degrees and sunshine, a nice change from the cloud and rain of St Petersberg and Moscow. Another day, another Kremlin Siting on the Volga, Kazan is where Europe and Asia begin to merge in Russia. Historically the area of a Turkic tribe it was incorporated into the Golden Horde (decedents of Genghis Khan) in the 13th century, became an independent Khanate when their power fragmented and was finally conquered by Ivan the Terrible ... read more
Kul Sharif Mosque
Annunciation cathedral
Garden Art

Europe » Russia » Volga » Kazan May 11th 2015

Day 11 - Nizhiny Novgorod to Kazan... So good was the food in "Bez xob" restaurant the night before, we had breakfast there. John had fried quails eggs, which came on a small frying pan with an actual nest containing the broken shells as decoration on the side. Nizhiny is a pretty city, but didn't hold any particularly unusual attractions to tempt us, so we pushed on out of there. The weather was sunny, it was a 7 hour drive to our next stop in Kazan, and we wanted to make it before nightfall. I've attached a few uninspiring photos taken out of the window along the way. The roads were getting bumpier, and it was a regular thing to see shredded remains of truck tyres by the side of the road next to skid marks. ... read more
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Pipelines
Tricked out Lada

Europe » Russia » Volga » Kazan October 29th 2013

Europe » Russia » Volga » Kazan October 27th 2013

Kazan, 14 train hours west of Ekaterinburg, is the capital of the Tatarstan Republic. After arriving very late to my hotel, I woke up bright and early to explore Kazan the next morning... then read my guidebook and waited an hour for things to be open. My plan was to explore Kazan's Kremlin. A Kremlin is the equivalent of a fort, the most famous of which is in Moscow. Many Russian cities have Kremlins but some of these are in a state of disrepair or ruin. Kazan's Kremlin is a World Heritage site and differs to other Kremlins in a few uniquely Tatar way. I walked up the hill to the Kremlin at about 10am, passing the south west wall, and entered through the southern gate. I was asked if I would like an excursion, a ... read more

Europe » Russia » Volga » Kazan July 19th 2013

I’ve studied Russian for the past 3 years, taking lessons at the St. Petersburg State Forestry Academy, where I found inexpensive classes and a Soviet-style institution. My teacher for most of my time there was Galina Aleksandrovna. I had assumed that she was middle-aged but looked older; it turned out that she is way past pensionable age – about 75 – but continues working as she enjoys it. We got on well most of the time; I overlooked the archaic textbooks and old-fashioned teaching style in favour of the cultural experience, intelligent conversation, small groups (I was often the only student) and Galina Aleksandrovna’s fascinating anecdotes. In the midst of one discussion she absentmindedly started a sentence with ‘Here in the Soviet Union…’. I felt as though a dream had come true. Before I left Russia ... read more
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Europe » Russia » Volga » Kazan July 15th 2012

I left Siberia last Friday and have spent the last couple of days in Kazan, capital of Russia's Tatar Republic. It is a very nice city and blazing hot at the moment. $US ≈ 33p. (Russian rubles) Казань Kazan Accommodation and food Stayed at Tatyana's Day booked through hostels.com for the low price of 350p.in a dorm with only 2 other people. It was supposed to include breakfast but we had to settle for just tea. WiFi is intermittent. The location was far from the center but it is a 5-10 minute walk to the nearest metro station which zips to the center in a few minutes for 15p. Near the hostel is Dobraya Stolovaya which is ridiculously cheap but closes early Saturday and is not open at all on Sunday. No prob as right around ... read more
Казань Кремль
Казань Кремль
Казань Кремль

Europe » Russia » Volga » Kazan June 21st 2012

Russia really is a land of contrasts. A few weeks ago we were inside temples in the Buddhist Republic of Kalmykia, a few days ago we couldn't move for onion domed churches in Suzdal and now here we are in the Republic of Tatarstan, home to 5 million Tatars, where mosques are more common than churches and signs are in Tatar and Russian. The capital, Kazan, is a great place to wander round – it doesn't feel Russian, it has a very free and easy feel, more relaxed than other cities. There are some amazing buildings around, very flamboyant and colourful not at all grey and concrete like my image of Russia. And so much history - established around 700AD by Bulgar Tatars (of Turkic & Slavic origin), it was conquered by the Mongol Golden Horde, ... read more
 some of Kazan's old mosques
Musa Dzhalil Monument
main gate to Kazan Kremlin

Europe » Russia » Volga » Kazan June 20th 2012

From Moscow we're heading towards Kazakhstan straight through one of the most densely inhabited parts of Russia so its a constant battle with the local traffic – there's a lots of it and they certainly don't use the same rule book as we do! Some of our Australian co-riders are getting quite upset about it! Progress is slow, there's lots of roadworks and long stops for long trains including the Trans-Siberian Express (nice memories of previous trips). En-route we stop off in the Golden Ring towns of Vladimir & Suzdal. This is where Russia began – where the Vikings settled, created fortified cites and set off to capture lands as far south as Kiev. The land of Principalities & Grand Duchies with buildings to match - UNESCO listed monuments are scattered everywhere. Vladimir was once the ... read more
its a bit worrying when they need to put a shrine in the middle of the motorway
roadside stalls
entering Vladimer via the Golden Gate

Europe » Russia » Volga » Kazan May 15th 2012

Volgograd-Saratov-Samara Nasi dalsi zastavkou je misto zvane " Utes Stepena Razina". Sjizdime z hlavni silnice mezi Vogogradem a Saratovem a po 8km po prasnych cestach prijizdime na brehy Volhy. Krajina je zvlnena, porostla brizami a krizovana stovkami vyjetych cest. Ve vesnici se ptame kudy jet a pak uz zvesela projizdime krajinou az na misto, kde je sezeni, zeleny travnik a uzasny vyhled dolu na reku Volhu. Bile utesy lemuji tmave modrou az cernou hladinu reky po ktere pluji lode. Pote zajizdime dolu az na samy breh , kde si macime nohy ve studene vode s jeste plavoucim ledem. Z teto prirodni oazy klidu a zelene se vydavame do mesta Saratov, oazy prachu a ruchu. Krasny vyhled na mesto z Parku Pobedy a prochazka nocnim centrem nam trochu vylepsuji dojem. Hlavnim zazitkem jsou ovsem zlate natrene lampy, ... read more

Europe » Russia » Volga » Kazan June 23rd 2011

They call it Instanbul of the Wolga – the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan – where Muslim and Christians, Tatar and Russian meet. During the Soviet times Kazan was the capital of the Tatar Autonomous Republic and enjoyed also after the breakup of the Soviet Union certain sovereignty from Moscow. Micha picked me up from the train station at 6.20 am – unfortunately the 20min ride to his place was the only time I saw him during the coming 3 days. Consequently, the deep dive into the Tatar culture which I was hoping for didn’t happen. Micha had another CS staying over – Felix, a German guy hitchhiking his way to Siberia – he tried to convince me to come along with him for a while... yeah, not really :) However, Felix and I gave ... read more
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