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Kazan ( ; , ) is the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russiamarker, and one of Russia's largest cities. It is a major industrial, commercial and cultural center, and remains the most important center of Tatar culture. Since April 2009 Kazan has the legal right to brand itself as the «Third Capital» of Russiamarker, approved by the Russian Patent Office. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka rivers in central European Russia. The famous Kazan Kremlinmarker is a World Heritage Site.


The origin of the name is unclear. The literal translation of the Tatar word qazan is a boiler or cauldron. Alternately, it may have been derived from qazğan, Tatar for dug [ditch].

"Qazan" is originally a name for a special cooking pan, a variant of a wok, but more solid and heavier. It was believed that the city of Kazan is named after this object because of its geographical similarity with a "qazan"-pan; namely the city is situated in a U-shaped lowland.

Another, more romantic legend tells a story of a Tatar princess Söyembikä, who dropped a golden dish (golden qazan) in to the river on which the city is located while washing it.

Additionally, Chuvash legends refer to the Bulgarian Prince Khusan (Хусан) (Chuvash rendering of the Muslim name Hasan) and Chuvashes call this city Хусан after the name of this prince, Hasan.


Main dates

  • End of the Xth — beginning of the XIth century - the city was founded
  • End of the XIVth — beginning of the XVth century Kazan becomes a capital of Kazan khanate
  • 1408 - starts to mint own coins
  • 1552 Kazan was seized by Ivan IV Grozny and Kazan khanate became a part of Russian state
  • 1556 - construction of modern Kremlin
  • Since 1708 - centre of Kazan province
  • 1759 - the first provincial classical school was opened
  • 1771 - two madrasahs were opened (Akhun and Apanay)
  • 1791 - first theatre was opened
  • 1804 - Kazan State Universitymarker was opened
  • 1874 - gas lighting in Kazan
  • 1896 - was built railroad to Moscow
  • 1899 - electrical tram and urban water supply started to work
  • 1920 - Kazan is a capital of Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialistic Republic (and then Tatarstan)
  • 1979 - population is over 1 million inhabitants
  • 2005 - Kazan Metro was opened


There is a long-running dispute as to whether Kazan was founded by the Volga Bulgars in the early Middle Ages or by the Tatars of the Golden Horde in the mid-fifteenth century, as written records before the latter period are sparse. If there were a Bulgar City on the site, estimates of its foundation range from the early 11th century to the late 13th century (see Iske Qazan). It was a block-post on the border between Volga Bulgaria and Finnic tribes (Mari, Udmurt). Another vexed question is where the citadel was built originally. Archaeological explorations have produced evidence of an urban settlement in three parts of the modern city: in the Kremlinmarker, in Bişbalta in the place of modern Zilantaw monastery and near the Qaban lakemarker. The oldest was the Kremlinmarker which could be dated back to the 11th century.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, Kazan could have shielded a Volga trade route from Scandinavia to Iranmarker. It was a trade center, and possibly a major city for Bulgar settlers in the Kazan region, although their capital was at the city of Bolğarmarker further South.

In the 13th century, re-settlers came to Kazan from Bolğar and Bilärmarker area, which had been ruined by the Mongols. Kazan became a center of a duchy, which was a dependency of the Golden Horde. In 1430s Hordian Tatars (such as Ghiasetdin) usurped power in the duchy, which was ruled by Bolghar dynasty before.

Some Tatars also went to Lithuaniamarker, brought back by Vytautas the Great. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania's influence spread as far east as here.

After the destruction of the Golden Horde, Kazan became the capital of the powerful Khanate of Kazan (1438). The city bazaar Taş Ayaq (Stone Leg)' became the most important trade center in the region, especially for furniture. The citadel and Bolaq channel were reconstructed, giving the city a strong defensive capacity. The Russians managed to occupy the city briefly several times, but before 1552 they withdrew.

In 1552, the city was conquered by Russiamarker under Ivan the Terrible and the majority of the population was massacred. During the governorship of Alexander Gorbatyi-Shuisky, most of the khanates's Tatar residents were killed, repressed, or forcibly Christianized. Mosques and palaces were ruined. The surviving Tatar population was moved to a place 50 km away from the city and this place was forcibly settled by Russian farmers and soldiers. Tatars in the Russian service were settled in the Tatar Bistäse settlement near the city's wall. Later Tatar merchants and handicraft masters also settled there.

Kazan was largely destroyed as a result of several great fires. After one of them in 1579, the icon Our Lady of Kazan was discovered in the city. During the Time of Troubles in Russia the independence of the Kazan Khanate was restored with the help of the Russian population, but this independence was suppressed by Kuzma Minin in 1612. The history of that period requires further research.

In 1708, the Khanate of Kazan was abolished, and Kazan became the center of a guberniya. After Peter the Great's visit, the city became a shipbuilding base for the Caspian fleet.

The major Russian poet Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin was born in Kazan in 1743, the son of a poor country squire of Tatar origin though himself having a thorough Russian identity and making a substantial contribution to Russian culture.

Kazan was largely destroyed in 1774 as a result of a revolt by border troops and peasants led by the Don Cossack ataman (captain) Yemelyan Pugachev, but was rebuilt soon afterwards, during the reign of Catherine the Great. Catherine also decreed that mosques could again be built in Kazan, the first being Marjani Mosquemarker. But discrimination against the Tatars continued.

In the beginning of the 19th century Kazan State Universitymarker and Printing Press were founded by Alexander I. The Qur'an was first printed in Kazan in 1801, and it became an important centre for Oriental Studies in Russia. By the end of the 19th century, Kazan had become an industrial center of the Middle Volga. People from neighboring villages came to the city looking for work. In 1875, a horse tramway appeared; 1899 saw the installation of a tramway.

After the Russian Revolution of 1905, Tatars were allowed to revive Kazan as a Tatar cultural center. The first Tatar theater and the first Tatar newspaper appeared.

In 1917 1917 Kazan Gunpowder Plant fire occurred in Kazan. In 1918, Kazan was a capital of the Idel-Ural State, which was suppressed by the Bolshevist government. In August 1918 it was shortly occupied by White Czechs. In 1920 (after the October Revolution), Kazan became the center of Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In the 1920s and 1930s, most of the city's mosques and churches were destroyed (as occurred elsewhere in the USSRmarker).

During World War II, many industrial plants and factories were evacuated to Kazan, and the city subsequently became a center of the military industry, producing tanks and planes.

In the late 1980s and in the 1990s, after the dissolution of the USSRmarker, Kazan again became the center of Tatar culture, and separatist tendencies intensified. Since 2000, the city has been undergoing a total renovation. The historical centre, including its Kremlin, has been rebuilt. A single-line metro opened on 27 August 2005. The Kazan Metro has six stations. But there are plans to extend the line in both directions. Kazan celebrated its millennium in 2005, when the largest mosque in Russia, Qolsharifmarker, was inaugurated in the Kremlinmarker, and the holiest copy of Our Lady of Kazan was returned to the city. Major objects like Millennium Bridgemarker also were inaugurated that year. The date of the "millennium", however, was fixed rather arbitrarily.

Historical naming

See also: Iske Qazan
  • Tatar (now, 1928–1939): Qazan;
  • (1939–2000): Казан;
  • (1918–1928): قازان ;
  • (1918–1922), Arab: قزان ;
  • Russian: Каза́нь [Kazan];
  • Arab (hist.): Bulgar al-Jadid (in Tatar transliteration:Bolğar âl-Cädid) - New Bolğar;
  • German: Kasan, Latin: Casan, French: Kazan, Polish: Kazań, Latvian: Kazaņa,
  • Finnish: (Old) Kasaani (New) Kasani


Roman Catholic church in Kazan
Population of Kazan since 1800

Ethnicity and religion

The city's population is mainly composed of Tatars (about 52 percent) and Russians (about 43 percent). Minority groups are Chuvash, Ukraniansmarker, Azeri and Jews.Major religions in Kazan city are Sunni Islam and Eastern Orthodoxy. Atheism is also popular. Minor religions are Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Krishnaism, and Bahá'í.


Russian and Tatar languages are widely spoken in the city. Russian is understood by practically all the population, apart from some older Tatars. Tatar is widely spoken mainly by Tatars. The offensive term Mankurt (Mañqort) is used for Tatars who are ashamed of their own culture and language.


Population of Kazan city (01.01.2009):
  • 1,130,717 inh. resident population (7th in Russia)
  • 1,180,238 inh. registred population
  • 1,432,000 inh. in agglomeration

Year Population
1550 50,000
1557 7,000
1800 40,000
1830 43,900
1839 51,600
1859 60,600
1862 63,100
1883 140,000
1897 130,000
1917 206,600
1926 179,000
1939 398,000
1959 667,000
1979 989,000
1989 1,094,400
1997 1,076,000
2000 1,089,500
2002 1,105,289 (census)
2008 1,120,200
2009 1,130,717


Kazan has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with long cold winters and warm, often hot dry summers. The warmest month is July with daily mean temperature near , coldest - January .

Central Kazan


The city has a beautiful citadelmarker (Russian: kreml, or, sometimes, Tatar: kirman), which was declared the World Heritage Site in 2000. Major monuments in the kremlin are the 5-domed 6-columned Annunciation Cathedral (1561-62) and the mysterious leaning Soyembika Towermarker, named after the last queen of Kazan and regarded as the city's most conspicuous landmark.

Also of interest are the towers and walls, erected in the 16th and 17th centuries but later reconstructed; the Qol-Şarif mosquemarker, which is already rebuilt inside the citadel;remains of the Saviour Monastery (its splendid 16th-century cathedral having been demolished by the Bolsheviks) with the Spasskaya Tower; and the Governor's House (1843-53), designed by Konstantin Thon, now the Palace of the President of Tatarstan.

Next door, the ornate baroque Sts-Peter-and-Paul's Cathedral on Qawi Nacmi Street and Marcani mosque on Qayum Nasiri Street date back to the 18th century.

Bistä or Posad

Central Kazan is divided into two districts by the Bolaq canal and Lake Qabanmarker. The first district (Qazan Bistäse or Kazanskiy Posad), historically Russian, is situated on the hill, the second (İske Tatar Bistäse or Staro-Tatarskaya Sloboda), historically Tatar, is situated between the Bolaq and the Volga. Mosques, such as Nurullahmarker, Soltanmarker, Bornaymarker, Apanay, Äcemmarker, Märcanimarker, İske Taşmarker, Zäñgär are in the Tatar district. Churches, such as Blagoveschenskaya, Varvarinskaya, Nikol'skaya, Tikhvinskaya, are mostly in the Russian part of the city. The main city-centre streets are Bauman, Kreml, Dzerjinski, Tuqay, Puşkin, Butlerov, Gorkiy, Karl Marx and Märcani.

An old legend says that in 1552, before the Russian invasion, wealthy Tatars (baylar) hid gold and silver in Lake Qabanmarker.

Wooden Kazan

In the beginning of 1990s most of Central Kazan was covered by wooden buildings, usually consisting of two floors. There was a historical environment of Kazan citizens, but not the best place to live in. During the Republican programme "The liquidation of ramshackle apartments" most of them (unlike other Russian cities), especially in Central Kazan, where the land isn't cheap, were destroyed and their population was moved to new areas at the suburb of the city (Azino, Azino-2, Quartal 39). Nearly 100,000 citizens resettled by this programme.

Other major buildings

Another significant building in central Kazan is the former "Smolentzev and Shmelev" tea house and hotel, now the Shalyapin Palace Hotel. It is located at 7/80 Universitetskaya Street, at the corner of Universitetskaya and Bauman. A major landmark of late-19th and early-20th century commercial architecture, it consists of two portions. The original portion, built for a merchant named Usmanov in the 1860s, was bought by the inter-related families of Efim Smolentzev and Pavel and Nikolai Shmelev in 1899. They operated a store selling, among other things, tea. In 1910, the Smolentevs and Shmelevs constructed another portion, designed by architect Vasili Trifonov, and operated a hotel there. After the Russian Revolution, the building eventually became the Hotel Soviet and after 2000 it was heavily renovated to reopen as the Shalyapin Palace Hotel.


Education and science

Primary and secondary education

Primary and secondary education system of Kazan includes:
  • 282 kindergartens, most of them are municipal
  • 178 schools, 2 of them are private
  • 28 vocational technical schools
  • 15 colleges
  • 10 special colleges
There are also 49 music schools, 10 fine-arts schools and 43 sports schools.

Higher education

Main building of Tatarstan Academy of Sciences

There are 55 institutes of higher education in Kazan, including branches of universities from other cities. Most prominent of them are:


Kazan is one of the biggest scientific centres of Russia. City hosts:

Government and administration

Administrative division

Kazan town hall
Cabinet of Ministers

Kazan is divided into seven districts:
No. District Population Area (km²)
1 Aviastroitelny 109,582 38.91
2 Vakhitovsky 93,083 25.82
3 Kirovsky 110,465 108.79
4 Moskovsky 132,400 38.81
5 Novo-Savinovsky 196,783 20.66
6 Privolzhsky 222,602 115.77
7 Sovetsky 240,374 76.87


Mayor is the head of the city. İlsur Metşin has been the mayor of Kazan since November 17, 2005

City Duma

Kazan City Duma is a representative body of the city, elected every four years.

Executive committee

Executive committee is a municipal body of the executive organs. Committee's head is Rafis Burganov, since January 17, 2008.

Tatarstan government

Kazan hosts Tatarstan President's residence and administration (in Kremlin), Tatarstan's Cabinet of Ministers and Council of State (on Freedom square).


Kazan is one of the largest industrial and financial centres of Russia, and a leading city of the Volga economic region in construction and accumulated investment. Total banking capital of Kazan banks is third in Russia. The main industries of the city are: mechanical engineering, chemical, petrochemical, light and food industries. An innovative economy is represented by the largest IT-park in Russia which is one of the largest of its kind amongst Eastern Europe science parks. Kazan ranks 174th (highest in Russia) in Mercer’s Worldwide Quality of Living Survey.


Main indicators of 2008
Indicator Value Gross to 2007
Total output volume, rub 123,6 bln. 107,4 %
Employed, inh. 565 000
GRP, rub 271,3 bln 105 %
Average income, rub 17 300 134 %
Retailing turnover, rub 211 bln 120,5 %
Investions, rub 102 bln
Expenditure, rub 18,361 bln
Revenue, rub 17,76 bln
Deficit, rub 0,601 bln

Plant facilities

Several Top-500 Russian companies are headquartered within city boundaries:
  • TAIF (192,10 bln rub. annual receipt)
  • Tatenergo (47,13 bln rub.)
  • Kazanorgsintez (21,19 bln rub.)
  • Transtechservice (14,87 bln rub)
  • Vamin (9,7 bln rub.)

There are 151 large- and middle-scale enterprises in Kazan city, 98 of them are JSCs. Main industries are: machinery construction, chemicals and petrochemicals, light and food industries. Factory shipments in 2008 year total 94,8 bln rub.

Main enterprises of the city: "Kazanorgsintez" JSC produces 38 % of Russian polyethylene. It also produces a large variety of petrochemical and chemical products. Founded in 1788. Produces "Mi" helicopters. KAPO currently produces the Tu-214 passenger plane and the Tu-160 strategic bomber. There are also plans to start producing Tu-334 regional airliners and Tu-330 freighters. Produces a large variety of cleaning agents Is a proper of EFES group.


Largest banks of Kazan city are:
  • Ak Bars Bank — net wealth for 01.10.08 — 190 bln rub.
  • Tatfondbank — 40 bln rub.
  • "Kazansky" bank — 10 bln rub.
  • "Spurt" bank — 9,4 bln rub.
  • Energobank — 9,0 bln rub.
  • Intechbank — 5,6 bln rub.
  • "Ipoteka-invest" — 3,6 bln rub.
  • "Zarechye"
  • Tatecobank
  • Tatinvestbank
  • Akibank
  • BTA-Kazan


A unique combination of historic city and modern megalopolis attracts tourists to Kazan.345 thousand tourists visited Kazan in 2004, 550 thousand in 2005 and 800 thousand in 2007.Kazan Kremlinmarker attracts more than 200 thousand tourists per year .There are more than 40 hotels in the city, including:
Grand Hotel
Stars Hotel name
* * * * * Mirage
* * * * Bon Ami
* * * * Grand Hotel
* * * * Giuseppe
* * * * Korston
* * * * Riviera
* * * * Suleiman Palace
* * * * Shalyapin Palace
* * * Ryan Johnson
* * * Amax-Safar
* * * Bulgar
* * * Volga
Stars Hotel name
* * * Gulfstream
* * * Derbyshky
* * * Dusliq
* * * Ibis
* * * Kolvy
* * * Novinka
* * * Teatral'naya mansion
* * * Premium
* * * Prestige House
* * * Polyot
* * * Regina (network)
* * * Hayall


Apartment house construction (thousands m²)
Year Value
2000 541,8
2003 611,3
2004 874,7
2005 632,0
2006 729,6
2007 742,3
2008 901,5


Kazan International Airport

Night aerial view of Kazan
City bus

Kazan International Airportmarker is located 26 kilometers from the city centre. It is a hub for Tatarstan Airlines and hosts 11 air companies. Airport is connected with city by bus route #97.There is also the Kazan Borisoglebskoyemarker airfield which contains a major aircraft factory.


Kazan is connected with Moscowmarker, Ulyanovskmarker, Yoshkar-Olamarker and Yekaterinburgmarker by railways.

Main railway station "Kazan passazhirsky" is located in the city centre and includes main building (built in 1896), commuter trains terminal, ticket office building and some other technical buildings. Station serves 36 intercity trains and more than 8 million passengers per annum .

There is a second terminal in the northern part of city, it serves only one intercity train. Reconstruction of the Northern terminal is freezed.

Kazan city has also 19 platforms for commuter trains

Riverside station

Station serves intercity ships and commuter boats. Pneumocushion boats are used in winter time. Daily passenger turnover reaches 6 thousands.

Bus station

Bus station is situated in Devyataeva street. Bus routes connect Kazan with all districts of Tatarstan, Ufamarker, Sterlitamakmarker, Samara, Tolyattimarker, Ulyanovskmarker, Baki, Aktobemarker.


There are highway connections to Samaramarker, Orenburgmarker, Ufamarker, Cheboksarymarker, Naberezhnye Chelnymarker (Yar Çallı), Almetyevskmarker (Älmät), Bugulmamarker (Bögelmä), and Chistopolmarker (Çístay).

There are five bridges across the Kazanka (Qazansu) river in the city, and one bridge connecting Kazan with the opposite bank of the Volga.

Public transit

  • A single-line Kazan Metro, the north-southeast Central Line, opened on 27 August 2005. The Kazan Metro has six stations, but there are plans to extend the line in both directions and is due to cross the Kazanka river with the station "Kozya Sloboda" in 2010. Single ticket - 12 rub.
  • The Kazan tram system was fouded in 1899. 8 routes use 187 km of lines and 197 tramcars. Single ticket - 12 rub. Rolling stock: LM-99, 71-608, 71-605.
  • The Kazan trolleybus system was founded in 1948. 355 km of lines are used for 14 routes . Single ticket - 12 rub. Vehicles: ZIU-682, Trolza-5275-05 "Optima", VMZ-5298.01-50 "Avangard".
  • The Kazan bus system was totally renovated in 2007. 91 routes have an aggregate length of 1981 km. All 1444 buses have are colored red. The price of a single ticket is 15 rub. Buses are produced by "Golden Dragon", "Higer", "NefAZ", "MAZmarker", "Yutong", "Hyundai", "Bogdan-Isuzu"



Men's teams:

Famous athletes


Important events

  • Kazan is the host city for the 2013 Summer Universiade.
  • 2005 Bandy World Championships
  • 2008 ice hockey juniors world championship
  • 2008 boxing students world championship
  • 2007 field hockey Europe championship
  • Kazan will host 2011 weightlifting Europe championship
  • Bandy World Championships again in 2011

International relations


Two consulates general are found in Kazan.
  • Consulate-General of Iranmarker.
  • Consulate-General of Turkeymarker.

Twin towns — Sister cities

Kazan is twinned with:

International organisations membership

Kazan has an Alliance française centre.

See also


Further reading

External links

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