For the Japanese emperor, see Emperor Kazan of Japan.

Kazan (Qazan) is the capital city of Tatarstan and one of Russia's largest cities. It is a major industrial, commercial and cultural center, and remains the most important center of Tatar culture. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga (İdel) and Kazanka (Qazansu) rivers in central European Russia.

Kazan's symbol: Zilant
In detail
Missing image

Languages Tatar, Russian
Mayor Kamil sxaqov
Coordinates Template:Coor dm
Area 425.2 km²
Population 1,154,000
Founded by Volga Bulgarians
~ 1005
Time zone UTC +3
City Day 30 August
Calling Code 7 8432
Religion Sunni Islam,
Russian Orthodox Church,



The origin of the name is unclear. The literal translation of Tatar qazan is a boiler or cauldron. Alternately, it may have been derived from qazğan, Tatar for dug [ditch].

"kazan" is originally a name for a special cooking pan, a variant of a wok, but more solid and heavier. It is believed among Tatars that the city of Kazan is named after this object because of its geographical similarity with a "kazan"-pan; namely the city is situated in a U - shape lowland. Another, a more romantic legend tells a story of a Tatar princess Suumbike, who dropped a golden dish (golden kazan) in to the river on which the city is located while washing it.


Kazan was founded in the 10th century AD by Volga Bulgarians. It was a block-post on the border between Volga Bulgaria and Finnish tribes (Mari,Udmurt).

In the 11th and 12th centuries, Kazan shielded a Volga tradeway from Scandinavia to Iran. It was a trade center, the main city for Bulgar settlers in the Kazan region.

In the 13th century, re-settlers came to Kazan from Bolğar and Bilr, which had been ruined by the Mongols. Kazan became a center of a duchy, which was a dependency of the Golden Horde.

After the destruction of the Golden Horde, Kazan became the capital of the powerful Khanate of Kazan (1438). The city bazaar Taş Ayaq (Stone Leg) became the most important trade center in the region, especially for furniture. The citadel and Bolaq channel were reconstructed, giving the city a strong defensive capacity.

In 1552, the city was forcibly annexed by Russia under Ivan Grozny (Ivan the Terrible). During and after the attack, most of the city's Tatar residents were killed, repressed, or forcibly Christianized. Mosques and palaces were ruined. The citadel was settled by Russian soldiers.

In 1708, the Khanate of Kazan was abolished, and Kazan became the center of a guberniya. After Peter the Great's visit, the city became a shipbuilding base for the Caspian fleet.

It was largely destroyed in 1774 as a result of a revolt by border troops and peasants led by the Don Cossack ataman (captain) Yemelyan Pugachev, but was rebuilt soon afterwards, during the reign of Catherine the Great. Catherine also decreed that mosques could again be built in Kazan. But discrimination against the Tatars continued.

By the end of the 19th century, Kazan had become an industrial center of Middle Volga. People from neighboring villages came to the city looking for work. In 1875, a horse railway appeared; 1899 saw the installation of a tramway.

After the Russian Revolution in 1905, Tatars were allowed to revive Kazan as a Tatar cultural center. The first Tatar theater and the first Tatar newspaper appeared.

In 1918, Kazan was a capital of the Idel-Ural State, which was suppressed by the Bolshevist government. Kazan was also the center of an anti-Bolshevik Bolaq artee Republic.

In 1919 (after the October Revolution), Kazan became the center of Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In the 1920s and 1930s, most of the city's mosques and churches were destroyed (as occurred elsewhere in the USSR).

During World War II, many industrial plants and factories were evacuated to Kazan, and the city subsequently became a center of the military industry, producing tanks and planes.

In the 1990s, after the dissolution of the USSR, Kazan again became the center of Tatar culture, and separatist tendencies intensified.

Since 2000, the city has been undergoing a total renovation. A metro system is being constructed.

Kazan will celebrate its millennium in 2005.

Historical population

  • 1550 – 50,000
  • 1708 – 40,000
  • 1830 – 43,900
  • 1839 – 51,600
  • 1859 – 60,600
  • 1862 – 63,100
  • 1883 – 140,000
  • 1897 – 130,000
  • 1917 – 206,600
  • 1926 – 179,000
  • 1939 – 398,000
  • 1959 – 667,000
  • 1979 – 989,000
  • 1989 – 1,094,400
  • 1997 – 1,076,000
  • 2000 – 1,089,500
  • 2002 – 1,153,000

Historical naming

Probably, that "Qazan" as informal name also was used during 1278-[[1430].

See also: Iske Qazan

(Tatar (now, 19281939): Qazan; (19392000): Казан; (19181928): ﻦﺍﺯﺎﻘ ; (19221918), Arab: ﻦﺍﺯﻘ  ; Russian: Каза́нь [Kazań]; Arab (hist.): Bulgar al-Jadid (in Tatar transliteration:Bolğar l-Cdid) - New Bolğar; German: Kasan, Latin: Casan, French: Kazan)

Central Kazan

Mrcani Mosque
Mrcani Mosque
Soltan Mosque, Tuqay Street
Soltan Mosque, Tuqay Street

The city has a beautiful citadel (Russian: kreml, or, sometimes, Tatar: kirmn) as well as an Old City dating back to the 15th century. Also of interest are the Qol-Şrif mosque, which is currently being rebuilt inside the citadel, the Syembik tower, Kazan's oldest building, and the Governor's House (1843-53), designed by Konstantin Thon, now the Palace of the President of Tatarstan. Next door, Petropavlovski Cathedral on Qawi Ncmi Street and Marcni mosque on Qayum Nasri Street date back to the 18th century.

Bolaq embankment
Bolaq embankment

Central Kazan is divided into two districts by the Bolaq canal and Lake Qaban. The first district, historically Russian, is situated on the hill, the second, historically Tatar, is situated between the Bolaq and the Volga. Mosques, such as Nurullah, Soltan, Apanay, cem, Mrcani, İske Taş, Zgr are in the Tatar district. Churches, such as Blagoveschenskaya, Varvarinskaya, Nikol'skaya, Tikhvinskaya, are mostly in the Russian part of the city. The main city-centre streets are Bauman, Kreml, Dzerjinski, Tuqay, Puşkin, Butlerov, Gorkiy, Karl Marx and Mrcani.

An old legend says that in 1552, before the Russian invasion, wealthy Tatars (baylar) hid gold and silver in Lake Qaban.

The University

The Kazan State University was founded in 1804 and has had several prominent students, including Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin.

Kazan State Technical University was established in 1932. Today the University is one of the leading institutions in the development of aircraft and rocket engineering, engine- and instrument-production, computer science and radio engineering.

There are nearly 20 institutes and universities in Kazan, but they are not so prominent and the most of them are commercial institutes.


Russian and Tatar languages are widely spoken in the city. Russian is understood by practically all the population, apart from some older Tatars. Tatar is widely spoken only by Tatars. Native Tatars are also bilingual in Kazan. The offensive term Mankurt (Maqort) is used for Tatars who do not speak the native language.

Not much English is spoken in the city, but young people tend to understand it.

City ethnic communities

Tatars and Russians

The city's population is mainly composed of Tatars (41–43%) and Russians (50–51%, includes number of Tatar-Russians speaking Russian only). Nearly a third of all marriages in city are between Tatars and Russians.

Most official posts are occupied by Tatars, but others by Russians and some minorities which lived in the city before 1990s.

Other communities

Native Tatarstanlı

Native Tatastanlı nationalities mix with Tatars and Russians.

Native Middle-Volgans

The city's third ethnos is Chuvash (1.2%), who speak their own language, but also Turkic languages group. They are Russian Orthodox with some pre-Christian elements in their religion. Other native for Middle Volga nation are Maris (0.3%), Udmurts (0.1%), Mordvas (0.2%) and Bashkirs (0.2%). Some of them speak Tatar, some Russian and others their own languages. Bashkirs are Moslems, others, like Chuvash, are Russian Orthodox with some pre-Christian elements in their religion.

Some Mari come to Kazan for seasonal work, mostly woodwork and carpentry. They build summer houses and saunas for local people. Chuvash and Mari come to the city every day from their republics and sell potatoes and mushrooms at bazaars.

Ethnic Germans

Ethnic Germans came to Kasan from the 18th century. They served in the Russian Army, or worked in Kazan State University. Some of them are very famous in Kazan, particularly professor Karl Fuchs. During World War II some of them were repressed by Stalin's government.

Today Kazan Germans mostly speak Russian.

Assurs (Assyrians)

Group of Assurs also live in Kazan. By tradition, they work at shoe repairing. Their community lives a closely guarded life: and they do not mix with other communities.

Immigrants in the Soviet period

During World War II a lot of the Western USSR population was evacuated to Kazan, including schools, educational institutes, and plants. Some of that population did not return to their native lands. They are: Jews, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Poles, and others (nearly 2.5% of population). They speak Russian, sometimes with Ukrainian accent, and some Jews speak Tatar.

Immigrants in the 1990s

One of the biggest Kazan communities is the Azeri community. Most of them are unregistered and work illegally. Azeri tradesmen control all the bazaars. They often sell imitation clothes of famous trademarks or fruits. The number of Azeris is very big. Interestingly, Azeri speak both Russian and Tatar well.

Other Caucasians come from Dagestan, Georgia (country), Armenia and others. They often own cafs or work in construction.

Another big community is the Central Asian community, which includes Uzbeks, Tajiks, Roma and Kyrgyz. Some of the Uzbeks and Tajiks own cafs or fast-food restaurants; sell dried apricots, popular among Kazan citizens. Gli, one of Roma tribes, beg near mosques, at terminals in trams and trains. They give all alms (called sadaqa) to their barons.

Other Central Asians, such as the majority of Uzbeks and Tajik, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs work in construction or demolition of old buildings. There are some Afghanians and Turkmen in city. East Asians, such as Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese work in the textile industry

The majority of these people living in Kazan are illegal immigrants. They often don't understand neither Russian nor Tatar, and never mix with them.

Other nationalities are represented by some foreign specialists, foreign companies' representatives, and students at the Kazan universities. Nearly 2000 Turkish specialists work at renovations.


Kazan is served by the Kazan airport approximately 15 kilometers from the city centre.

Kazan is connected with Moscow, Ulyanovsk, Yoshkar-Ola and Yekaterinburg by railways and highways. There are highway connections to Samara, Orenburg, Ufa, Cheboksary, Naberezhnye Chelny (Yar allı), Almetyevsk (lmt), Bugulma (Bgelm), and Chistopol (stay).

There are municipal tramways, trolleybuses and buses, and also a lot of private mini-buses, called marshrutka. A metro system is under construction. There are four bridges connecting banks of Kazanka (Qazansu), and one bridge connecting Kazan with another bank of Volga.

Missing image
Kazan tram near Imam Shamil's House

See also

Tatar (Turkic) and Muslim celebrations

External link

de:Kasan el:Καζάν eo:Kazan lt:Kazanė nl:Kazan ja:カザン os:Хъазан pl:Kazań ro:Kazan ru:Казань sl:Kazan fi:Kazan sv:Kazan tt:Qazan


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