Kazan - Russia, West

Kazan is over 500 miles (800 km) east of Moscow on the banks of the Volga River, just north of the Samara Reservoir, where it is joined by the Kazanka River. The city, set in hilly country with many ravines is the capital of the Tatar Republic and was founded in the 13th century by Mongols who had occupied Russia. It was the seat of the mighty Golden Horde (Tatar) Empire until it was conquered by Czar Ivan the Terrible in 1552. The old Tatar fortress was rebuilt as a Russian kremlin, the white walls and towers of which survive as a feature of the modern skyline. Much of the city was burned to the ground during a revolt in the 18th century. Catherine II the Great rebuilt it on a gridiron pattern. Including the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. Today, the city is a thriving Volga port, half Russian and half Tatar, and a unique blend of Moslem and Christian cultures. Kazan has a theatre of Tatar opera and ballet, a philharmonic society, and a noted Tatar museum.