The Republic of Tatarstan is the heiress to the great Khanate of Kazan. Today it entices with its gray Kremlin towers, mosques, churches and rich museum heritage. Sviyazhsk Island Town – a prototype of Pushkin's Buyan Island, the thousand-year-old town of Yelabuga, ancient Bolgar and the charming Volga nature should all be seen with your own eyes to truly value the republic's cultural kaleidoscope: the elegant entwined Tatar and Russian traditions of Orthodoxy and Islam.
Kazan is a World Heritage site and has been awarded diplomas and medals by UNESCO. The Kazan Kremlin was awarded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site as "an outstanding example of a synthesis of Tatar and Russian influences in architecture", and in 2014, the ancient city of Bolgar was added to the world heritage list.
There are many other types of attractions on the Volga. These include the Romanovsky railway bridge built at the beginning of the last century; the Pechischinsky geological section much-loved by scientists fr om around the world, with each layer corresponding to different epochs; the Volga (Syukeevsky) carst caves in the area of Kamskoye Ustye, and the ancient coastal temples with their unique history.
In one of the most unusual attractions in Kazan is the Temple of All Religions. This universal temple, or International cultural center of spiritual unity, as it is also called, is situated in Staroye Arakchino village on the banks of the Volga. The complex contains Orthodox and Catholic churches, a mosque, synagogue, Buddhist temple and a Chinese pagoda. The center is decorated with familiar elements from the world's religions, as well as symbols of disappeared civilizations.
Legend says that Pushkin, when he saw the island town of Sviyazhsk, imagined the magical island of Buyan ruled by Prince Gvidon. The island holds the Sviyazhsk Maslenitsa and Sviyazhsk Ukha festivals. Every year, a medieval tournament is held here, with knights and beautiful ladies visiting the island from all corners of the country.
The thousand-year-old town of Yelabuga is situated in the north-east of Tatarstan. The most mysterious and one of most popular places in Yelabuga is the Devil's Tower (11th - 12th century). This architectural monument from the pre-mongol period of Volga Bulgaria has many legends. One of them says that the tower was inhabited by Druids who demanded gifts from people sailing along the Kama. Once they receive the gift, they saved the vessel from sinking. The secret of their power lay in a hidden reef called the Bull. There was such a strong current from the other side of the river that ships could easily sink in these waves. There really was such a hidden reef, but with the beginning of regular shipping, it was decided to destroy it to avoid tragedies.Yelabuga still has the atmosphere of an old town with quarters with merchant houses; these ancient houses are still inhabited by people and companies. The town many different festivals. Every year, the world-famous Spasskaya Market, the largest market in Russia, is held here. The town holds international events wh ere the poems of Marina Tsvetaeva, who tragically died in Yelabuga, are read. During the International symposium on modern painting, Shishkinsky Ponds and Alexandrovsky Park are filled with artists and their easels.