5 Minute Guide to Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia

5 Minute Guide to Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia

Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia

From the airport

I’ve only arrived in Kazan by train, which is conveniently located in the centre of town, so I can’t be 100% sure of the airport arrival information I’m about to give you.

kazan railway station
Kazan Railway Station

Kazan International Airport (KZN) is 30km to the southeast of the city centre.  There are flights to Kazan from Moscow and St Petersburg, and from other cities outside of Russia.  There are reports that there are less waiting times at passport control compared to Moscow, so it could be a good point of arrival into Russia just for that reason alone.

You can take a taxi from the airport – it’s about 25 minutes to the city centre.  Prices vary, especially since the World Cup Football championships in 2018, but they should start at around 500 roubles.  It’s recommended to order a taxi by phone, or use an app (Yandex, Gett etc).  Or there’s a Tourist Information Office near the domestic flight arrival zone – they can order a taxi for you.

There is a train, Aeroexpress, which you can take from the airport to the train station in the centre of town, however it only goes every 2 hours.  But it’s only about 40 roubles, and takes only 30 minutes, so if you can wait, or you’re there when it’s leaving, I suggest you get on it!

This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full disclosure here.

zilant symbol of kazan
The Zilant (in Russian Зилант) has been the official symbol of Kazan since 1730

Hotels

There are hotels to suit all budgets in Kazan – from hostels to the luxurious Mirage Hotel, which is just across from the Kremlin.  Whatever your budget and needs, you’ll find something.  We stayed at Ibis, which is pretty much the same in any city in the world – standard, basic accommodation.  If you use my referral link for your next hotel booking on Booking.com, we’ll both get a reward!   Booking.com

kazan
Kazan, a view over the river

Getting around

You’ll be able to walk almost everywhere in Kazan.  It’s quite flat and the footpaths are good.  There are buses, but without knowledge of the Russian language it might be a little difficult to negotiate where you want to go/get off.  There’s also a metro system underground, which is quite simple to use and signs are also in English.  Take a ride and get out somewhere random for a look around!

kazan metro entrance
The entrance to the Kremlin metro station
metro signs in kazan
Metro signs in Kazan are in Tartar, Russian, and English

Booking.com

Food

A large selection of cafes and restaurants are in and around Bauman Street.  You’ll find all varieties of cuisine and price.  Don’t be afraid to try something which seems unusual to you, it will almost certainly be delicious.  One restaurant chain (they have 3 locations) comes highly recommended – Bilyar, where you can try traditional Tartar food, or if you prefer there’s a selection of western dishes.  Make sure you try the traditional Tartar dessert called chak chak.  Chak chak is a dough which is deep fried and then soaked in a honey based syrup.  Very tasty!

kazan horses
Eating horse meat is a tradition in Kazan

Traditional horse meat sausages are also a specialty here, called ‘kazylyk’ (in Russian – Казылык).  Another traditional dish is the soup ‘solyanka’ (in Russia – солянка), which is a soup made with spices, meat, cucumbers, pickles, onions and various herbs.  The Kazan style of solyanka is known to contain horse meat, so if you want to avoid eating horse then don’t order solyanka (but I do recommend you try it, it’s delicious!).  Read some more about Tartar food in this article. 

pushkin in kazan
Statue of Alexander Pushkin, the Russian writer

Shopping

If you’re looking for shopping, there are several big shopping malls for you to choose from.  Including Tsum, Yuzhny Mall, Suvar Plaza and more.  You’ll find all the usual brands here, pretty much like any big city mall.  Tsum and Suvar are luxury malls and the prices reflect that.  If you want something a little cheaper, you could go to MEGA Kazan shopping mall, which caters for all budgets.

For souvenirs, you can go to the Kazan Tourist Information Centre on Bauman Street, or small shops inside and around the Kremlin.

Sightseeing

Well, let’s start with the Kremlin.  Part of the Kremlin dates back to the 10th century, and is UNESCO listed.  It’s truly beautiful and is a wonderful example of 2 religions living in harmony together – Christianity and Islam.  You’ll see the beautiful church, ‘Cathedral of the Annunciation’, and the ‘Kul Sharif Mosque’.  They’re every bit as beautiful in real life as you see in photos – even more so.  The Kremlin is quite small, so you won’t need to spend a lot of time there unless you’re there for worship and/or reflection.

kremlin kazan
The entrance to the Kremlin
mosque in kazan
The Kul Sharif Mosque in the Kremlin

Another must visit is Bauman Street, which is a pedestrian zone which starts at the Kremlin and ends at Tukay Square metro station.  Alongside the cafés and restaurants, you’ll find the beautiful Chapel of the Church of the Epiphany, and behind it the Church of the Epiphany.

church kazan
The Chapel of the Church of the Epiphany, and behind it the Church of the Epiphany

Also on this street is the Carriage of Catherine II, and the Zero Kilometre of Kazan, showing the precise geographical centre of Kazan.

state university kazan
The Kazan State University
lenin in kazan
Statue of Vladimir Lenin, the famous Russian leader, stands opposite the Kazan State University, which he attended

Other places of interest in Kazan include the Old Tartar Quarter, the Kazan State University, and the old and seemingly falling apart Mergasovsky’s House, also known as Writers’ House, in reference to the famous Tatar writers Kavi Najmi and Abdulla Alish, who lived there in the middle of the 20th Century.

Writers' house kazan
‘Writer’s House’

Quirky

The quirkiest thing in Kazan is definitely the wax museum.  It’s really small, and when we were there in 2014 there were only about 25 figures in the museum.  It’s off the pedestrian zone, behind MacDonalds in a strange little yard (if it hasn’t moved since we were there in 2014).  The address is Bauman St, 70, Kazan.  I can’t find a website for it, but here’s the link to Trip Advisor.    It’s quite expensive to get in, 250 roubles, however you can take photos – and you’ll want to because you’ll definitely want some photographic evidence of this rather quirky museum.  It’s all a bit of fun, don’t expect the quality of a Madame Tussaud’s museum, and don’t expect to spend more than 10-15 minutes there!

wax museum kazan
Me with Gerard Depardieu in the wax museum

Recommended for

Kazan is a great place to visit for most people, young and old, couples, families.  Might not be interesting for really young children.

building
Look around you and you’ll see many different styles of architecture

Top tip

Spend some time just walking around the town, looking at buildings from different eras, and look up – you’ll see some lovely architecture and sculptures on some of the buildings.

balcony kazan
A balcony in Kazan
beautiful building kazan
An example of the beautiful architecture in Kazan

For a more intensive look at Kazan – the town’s website.

Do you have any plans to visit Kazan?  Or maybe you’ve already been there.  Tell us all about it in the comment section below!

~ Cheryl

If you like travelling, you’ll enjoy my other 5 Minute Guides – Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Moscow part 1, Moscow part 2, Hue, Hanoi, Paris, and Vilnius.

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Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
Guest

Hi Cheryl, you are certainly making me want to keep Russia on my list of places to visit. As I’ve mentioned before we have only visited St Petersburg briefly but there is so much to see in other areas. I’ve been a bit hesitant to visit but you show how beautiful and fascinating the country is. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and have a beautiful week. x

Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
Guest

I always enjoy your little tours of Russian places Cheryl. It will be a long time (if ever) before I get to Russia, so it’s nice to see it from a Midlife tourist’s point of view. There is certainly some beautiful architecture to look at.
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

Anindya
Guest

Nice to read about a new place called Kazan, of which I am hearing for the first name. Great pictures too. Looks like a quiet, picturesque, historical town, and very Russian in identity. Good to know about your trip and tips about the place.

Please share!
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