The Kazan Kremlin


According to my tour book, the Tatar people who were originally conquered by the Mongols joined forces and eventually gained autonomy.  Ruling as the Golden Horde, the capital was established at Kazan.  Ivan the Terrible conquered the region for Russia in 1552.  Tatarstan is rich in natural resources and maintains a distinct political and cultural distance from Moscow.  There is relative harmony between the Tatar Muslims and Orthodox Christian Russians.  The stories of “incidents” that I hear about seem no more dire than ethnic or religious intolerance in America.  Throughout my visits in Kazan, I meet mixed religion couples.  Groups of friends are often Muslim and Christian.  I think to myself that much of the world could learn a lesson from this city.  I posed for a photo in front of the Kremlin and set my camera on a tripod.  It took many attempts to get a “decent” photo.  The entire time, the capital police kept a close eye on me.


Outside the main entrance is a statue dedicated to a Tatar man, Musa Dzhalil who was killed by the Nazis.  It is a beautiful sculpture and is the focal point of many meetings, photos, and tour groups.



I see tourists from all over central Russia visiting Kazan and have several opportunities to talk to people from Tatarstan and from nearby republics.  Inside the Kremlin wall there are government buildings, cathedrals, the large Kul Sharif Mosque (the Imam who defended the city from Ivan the Terrible), statues, and beautiful gardens.  Under the corner of one of the Cathdedrals you can see the remains of a Mosque that was knocked down in order to build the Cathedral after the city was conquered by the Russians.  It was one of the nicest capital complexes that I have visited.  Inside the Cathedrals and Mosques, women are required to cover their heads; scarves are offered for “loan” and wraps for the waist if the woman is wearing a short skirt or dress.



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