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I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the cruise. I knew it would be nicer then an average Russian cruise, but our experience went above and beyond our expectations. The food was fantastic, the service fabulous, the tours interesting. Having lived in St. Petersburg for the last two years, we were just looking for an interesting way to see Kizhi, the Golden Ring and Moscow. Instead, we had one of the best weeks here in Russia.
United States - Russia
Explore Russia: Trip to Kazan
As a travel nut, I thought nothing could make much impression on me until I visited Kazan. I loved it as soon as I arrived. Fusing the Tatar culture with the Russian one, this is an extremely unique city that boasts a 1,000-year history and offers a whole bunch of attractions for the most experienced tourists. Reachable by many ways, Kazan excels with its riverboat terminal on the Volga River which allowed me arriving in the city by river cruise from Moscow. I must say that was an amazing experience!
So, tour of the UNESCO listed Kremlin was the first thing I did while in Kazan to learn at first hand that it is an undoubted must see place. Well, the Kremlin was really the star of my very successful visit to Kazan. Indeed, it is a truly beautiful and charming place that entices you to explore each corner and asks you to guess its story. Denoting a great energy, the Kremlin leaves a lasting impression and looks especially fabulous at night with its white walls gleaming in the night lights and radiating like a jewel on the opposite side of Volga, so make sure you enjoy an absolutely gorgeous view while cruising on the river.
One more attraction which is definitely worth to make a visit is the Kul Sharif mosque inside the Kremlin. Both striking and unique, it is the largest mosque in all of Russia. Combination of blues and whites and stunning architecture create a one-of-a-kind appearance of this building which anyone can hardly take their eyes off. Do not miss it!
When you are done with the Kremlin, be sure to take a walk down Bauman Street, which runs straight from the Kremlin walls. Frequently compared with the Moscow’s Arbat, this pedestrian zone with lovely statues and fountains is a fun place to take a stroll down and rest up in all kinds of cafes, bars and restaurants. At night the street changes and fills up with young people and clatter and chatter, and generally seems to be a sort of hub for night life. So, if you’re a pleasure-seeker, believe me, this place is definitely worth spending some time here.
Worth a look is the Temple of all Religions. Though you cannot go inside since construction is not complete, the Temple’s outside won’t leave you cold anyway – it is interesting for architecture buffs as it features 16 towers dedicated to different religions. Go and see for yourself
Soviet Lifestyle Museum is, in my view, Kazan’s most original and eccentric museum. I strongly recommend visiting this amazing place with the whole family (provided you’re travelling not on your own). Entering the museum is like going through a time-machine back to the USSR.
This place is too fun to be named a museum and is interactive in the fullest sense so you will walk out of there smiling like an excited child. What makes the museum even more distinctive is its curator Rustem, a friendly, extremely outgoing and welcoming guy who speaks English (which is equally important). Well worth the price.
When planning your Russian river cruise to Kazan, make no mistake to plan popping into. Make no doubt about it – you won’t regret. Actually, when I saw it for the first time, my jaw dropped in awe – the cathedral with its blue and white tops was a fantastic sight! The main thing that makes it so unusual and still beautiful is the style used in the decoration. Apparently, the building has an Italian character which is particularly noticeable on the exterior of the cathedral.
Well, I guess I will never dry up on the subject – Kazan boasts hundreds of interesting and exciting places to go and to see. However, I have one big impression that can’t be left untold - during my whole stay in Kazan, the city never failed to amaze me which is why now I know for sure I will come back to get to know it better.