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History of Kazan

Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, an ancient city with a centuries-old history, located on the left bank of the Volga River.

There are several legends associated with the name of the city. The most common of them is that Kazan comes from the Tatar word “kazan” – “cauldron”. The legend says that the city was laid in the place where the water boiled without any fire in a cauldron, dug into the ground. The symbol of the city is the mythical dragon-like creature Zilant, depicted on the coat of arms.

Kazan was founded as a stronghold on the northern borders of Volga Bulgaria more than 1000 years ago. The age of the city was determined during the excavations on the territory of the Kazan Kremlin. The Czech coin was found then, dated 929-930 years, as well as the remains of masonry and the wooden city wall and utensils.

In 1438, the Bulgarian fortress was captured by the khan of the Golden Horde, and the city became the capital of the Kazan Khanate. This period was marked by the prosperity of the leather, pottery, and weapons production, establishing trade links with Moscow, the Crimea, Turkey, and other regions. In the 13th-14th centuries, Kazan is actively developing, becoming an important trade and political center within the Golden Horde State. A favorable location at the intersection of major trade routes connecting the East and West contributed to the prosperity. Kazan is mentioned in the Russian chronicles since the XIV-XV centuries. An important milestone was the beginning of the minting of the coins.

The history of the Kazan’s formation was accompanied by military conflicts. The troops of Ivan the Terrible captured Kazan in 1552 after a series of strife with the Principality of Moscow. Most of the city was destroyed, and the Tatars were moved to the marshy shores of the Lake Kaban where the Staro-Tatarskaya Sloboda was subsequently formed. After the final suppression of the uprisings in the Kazan region, the city entered a new era of the Russian state.

The history of Kazan in the Russian Empire has many significant dates, such as the construction of a white stone Kremlin, the laying of the first manufactories and handcraft settlements. The rapid economic growth provided that Kazan became the capital of the Kazan province in 1708. Over time, Kazan got the City Council, the coat of arms, the development master plan, the City Hall, the theater, the observatory, public transport and water pipes.

The beginning of the XX century is associated with the great disturbances that Kazan experienced, becoming one of the centers of the revolution. The Tatar ASSR was established in 1920 with its capital in Kazan. Intensive industrialization of the city began in the 30s.

During the Great Patriotic War, Kazan was the rear support of the country where large factories and scientific centers found temporary shelter.

Kazan headed the Republic of Tatarstan in 1990. The celebration of the Millennium of Kazan in 2005 was the remarkable event in the history of the city. Landmark objects were built in the city, such as the subway, the Kul-Sharif Mosque, the Millennium Bridge, the new hippodrome, the “Tatneft-Arena”, and other large structures. The rapid development of the city did not go unnoticed. About a million tourists began to visit Kazan per year. 1 million 231 thousand 878 people live in Kazan as of January 1, 2017. The city continues to actively develop, pleasing its citizens and attracting new tourists.

Between East and West

Kazan is one of the brightest examples of how people of different nationalities and religions can live in one city peacefully, in an atmosphere of friendliness and tolerance. Ethnic and religious diversity in the capital of Tatarstan persists for more than one century. There are 117 religious objects in the city: 64 mosques, 43 Orthodox churches, 12 churches of other Christian movements, 1 synagogue, prayer houses of Baha'i and Krishna.

Representatives of more than 115 nationalities live in the capital of Tatarstan. According to the 2010 census, the most numerous of them are Russians (48.6%) and Tatars (47.6%). Also, you can meet Chuvash, Ukrainians, Mari, Bashkirs and Udmurts among the inhabitants of Kazan.

Traditions of Kazan University

Kazan is a youth city wh ere the research and education center is concentrated. In 2019, the city will welcome participants of the World Skills Championship.

The possibility of obtaining affordable and high-quality higher education attracts nonresident and foreign applicants to the capital of Tatarstan.

Prospective students can choose any of 29 universities (13 state, 9 commercial, 7 branches of universities) and 34 professional educational institutions. One of the country's oldest universities is the Kazan (Privolzhsky) Federal University, founded in 1804 and known for its scientific school.

From Chaliapin to our days

Kazan has a unique cultural pattern. The map of the city includes more than 1000 objects that form the cultural diversity of the capital.

The doors of 34 museums, 9 theaters, 8 large concert halls, 14 houses of culture, 50 libraries, and 50 children's art schools are open in the city. New cultural platforms are being formed in Kazan constantly, for example, the creative space “Shtab”, the Center for Contemporary Culture “Smena”, and the creative laboratory “Ugol”.

Kazan is known all over the country by international forums: the opera festival named after F. Chaliapin, the festival of classical ballet named after R. Nuriev, the festival of Muslim cinema, the theater festival of Turkic peoples “Nauruz”. Russia's leading theaters and world-famous stars traditionally include Kazan in their tours. The city’s museums present exhibits at the Hermitage, the Tretyakov Gallery, and the Russian Museum.

Universiade Heritage

Kazan is known as the sports capital of Russia. The XXVII World Summer Universiade-2013 entered the history of the city as a “golden” page, the legacy of which allowed the XVI FINA World Championships-2015 and the FIFA Confederations Cup-2017 to be held in the city. In 2018, Kazan will host matches of the World Cup, along with another 10 Russian cities.

The city’s sports infrastructure includes 15 stadiums, 12 indoor ice arenas, 54 swimming pools, 378 sports halls, and 942 flat sports grounds.

The gem of the city is the football stadium “Kazan Arena” for 45000 viewers, the first stadium in Russia built for the World Cup-2018. In 2013, the “Kazan Arena” held the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Summer Student Games. In 2015, the stadium hosted swimming and synchronized swimming competitions as part of the FINA Championship. In 2017, the “Kazan Arena” hosted 4 matches of the Confederations Cup.

Public transport is the priority

As acknowledged by Russian and foreign experts, the Kazan transport network is one of the most modern and convenient in Russia. Priority in the city is given to public transport. The capital of Tatarstan was the first in Russia to introduce a separate lane for buses and trolleybuses on the roads. Now Kazan occupies the first place in the unofficial rating of Russian cities by the length of allocated lanes for public transport. There are 155.7 m of transport lanes per 1000 people in the capital of Tatarstan.

According to the results of the study of the Research Institute of Automobile Transport (NIIAT), which is developing a new system of transport services in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan takes the first place in terms of the efficiency of using the route network.

Millions of tourists a year

Kazan began its ascent to the tourist Olympian in 2005, when the capital of Tatarstan celebrated its millennium. In the anniversary year, 500 thousand guests visited the city. In the year of Universiade, Kazan received 1.5 million guests, 2.1 million in the year of the FINA Championship, and 2.5 million in 2016.

The most visited places among tourists are Kazan Kremlin, Bauman Street, Family Center “Kazan”, water park “Riviera”, and other attractions.

UNESCO Protected

In Kazan, there are 563 objects on state protection as objects of cultural heritage (historical and cultural monuments). 119 out of them are of federal significance, 376 are republican and 68 are local. In 2000, the ensemble of the Kazan Kremlin was added to the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.

Kazan was included in the list of historical settlements in order to preserve an ordinary historical building, surrounded by monuments. More than 400 objects are subject to preservation without changing stylistic features. Thus, the unique historical heritage of Kazan will be preserved for future generations.

“Lungs” of the city

Special attention is paid to parks and squares in Kazan. Over the past 5 years, the number of public areas in the city has increased to 143, and their area has grown to 379 hectares. 49 new green territories appeared on the map of Kazan. The residents most favor the Gorkinsko-Ometievsky Forest, Gorky Park, park “Chernoe Ozero”, “Sosnovaya Roscha”, and Pobedy Park.

Parks and squares in Kazan is not just a quiet place for recreation but also a platform for active cultural and sports leisure of citizens. Festivals, film screenings, concerts, charity fairs breathed life into the renewed public spaces.

Now several improvement projects are being implemented in Kazan such as the eco-rehabilitation of a unique natural object, the Lebyazhie Lake system.

The trend of high technology

Kazan's leadership in the field of economics is clear. The capital of Tatarstan occupies the leading positions in investment and construction in the Volga region, in the provision of modern shopping centers and in the aggregate capital of its own banks in Russia. The city has the largest high-tech technology park in Russia, IT Park, as well as one of Europe’s largest technology parks “Idea”.

Since 2007, the Kazan City Hall has been implementing a large-scale small business development program. There are discount programs for lending and leasing municipal property for businessmen.

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