Kazan was the third city I visited during my Europe-Asia trip from Moscow to Beijing. I left Nizhny Novgorod at around 9 pm and arrived in Kazan the next day at around 5 am. Just in time to enjoy the sunrise.
The railway runs along the Volga River as if they were two parallel lines, and reaches Kazan at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers. The city thus rises on a large flat bay. We are already more than 800 km away from Moscow.
Kazan is a significant Muslim and Tatar cultural center.
Kazan in a nutshell
The following is an interactive map. Some of the main points of interest in Kazan are marked with blue pins. The yellow pins mark the central market, another supermarket, and the Café-Restaurant Кофеин (Caffeine). These are very useful for shopping before leaving by train again, and in the last one, we stopped for a long, refreshing break. The central station, the starting point of my tour, is marked with a black pin.
Getting to Kazan around 5 in the morning was one of the most beautiful experiences of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Kazan Railway Station and its surroundings
At 5 in the morning, all the bars were still closed, and nobody was on the street. For this reason, we decided to go around the center and stop only at the end of your tour. We had breakfast and lunch in one fell swoop, before getting on the next train in the afternoon.
Leaving the train station behind us, we headed straight for the Kazan Kremlin passing through two of the most famous cathedrals in the city:
St. Nicholas Cathedral
Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral
Unfortunately, the first was obviously still closed, and the second was under renovation. However, I recommend visiting at least the latter because it has the tallest bell tower in the city (over 50 meters) and is an excellent example of Russian Baroque architecture.
Near the Kazan Station, there are two very unusual buildings, the first is in the shape of a UFO, the second in the form of an Egyptian pyramid:
Pyramid Concert Hall
Kul Sharif Mosque
After passing the Spasskaya Tower and entering the Kremlin, I saw the turquoise minarets of the Kul Sharif Mosque and wanted to go immediately there.
The mosque is a nearly recent construction, it was opened in 2005.
Other points of interest in the Kazan Kremlin, apart from some government buildings and some museums, are the Sjujumbike Tower (built on seven levels, almost 60 meters high, and slightly sloped), and the Annunciation Cathedral.
From the Kremlin, you have a panoramic view of the port and the riverside. Among the buildings that can be seen from here, there are the Church of the Holy Martyr Paraskeva and the Farmer’s Palace.
It is an eclectic building that has among its distinctive notes a big bronze tree, about twenty meters high, which fills the entire central arch.
Other buildings and places of interest
Kazan State University
Epiphany Church and bell tower
I recommend going to the top of the bell tower to see the city from above:
Kaban Lakes and channels
Galiaskar Kamal Tatar Academic Theatre
Institute of Philology and Intercultural Communication
If you have extra time
Two picturesque and colorful buildings are located further away from the historic center (I couldn’t visit them the only day I spent in Kazan):
Children’s Palace (Puppet Theater)
Temple of All Religions
It was then time to go to the nearest supermarket and finally enter the central station again. The next train will take me to Yekaterinburg after about 16 hours of travel. The arrival is scheduled at 8 am of the next day.
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian Railway – All you need to know
Travel arrangements: General Information
Departure station: Moscow
First stop: Nizhny Novgorod
Second stop: Kazan
Third stop: Yekaterinburg
Fourth Stop: Novosibirsk
Fifth stop: Krasnoyarsk and Stolby Nature Sanctuary
Sixth stop: Lake Baikal
Seventh stop: Irkutsk
Eighth stop: Ulan-Ude
Ninth stop: Ulaanbaatar
Tenth stop: Datong
Arrival station: Beijing