Kazan is a city of contrasts and compromises, where East meets West, Islam meets Christianity and the Tatar language meets Russian. Exploring Kazan in one day may be a bit ambitious, but getting the most out of one day in Kazan is definitely an achievable goal. Follow our one-day route around Kazan to see the main attractions and enjoy your food breaks on the way.
This part of the city became an area for Kazan’s elites during the rule of Ivan the Terrible. Now a historical complex with unique authentic architecture, Staro-Tatarskaya sloboda is subdivided into three functional zones – business, industrial and cultural. You’ll probably be most interested in the latter, for its architecture, religious facilities and diners with traditional Tatar cuisine. Here you can enjoy the sights of beautiful mosques, singing fountains and feed the ducks on lake Kaban's embankment.
A former village house repurposed into a minimalistic vegan diner & shop. The menu is concise and often times missing a dish or two, but all the food is based on carefully selected, top-quality ingredients and lots of love put into its making. Attention: payment is cash only.
One of the oldest and, nowadays, the main pedestrian street of Kazan, which you can’t miss even if you don’t follow our route - all Kazan roads sort of lead here. The 1.3 km pedestrian zone stretching from from Tukai Square to the Kazan Kremlin is filled with shops, cafés, monuments, architectural treasures and live music jams - this street is the center of attraction for all tourists.
To the left of Ulitsa Baumana, on Kremlevskaya Ulitsa stands the Kazan University which is over 200 years old. Now it extends far beyond these historical buildings, but the main building and main campus remain here. Vladimir Lenin himself attended the Kazan University for two months, before being expelled for participation in student protests. Neighbouring the University are the National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan known for its unique eclectic architecture with elements of ampir and baroque and the Nikolay Lobachevsky Scientific Library posing an impressive collection of over 6 million books.
Stop by the Meatball Box café for a refule – falafel, hummus, meatballs, salads and soups will fill you up, but won’t weigh you down and you are all set to continue your journey.
Following Kremlevskaya Ulitsa, takes you to the most popular tourist destination of Kazan - the Kazan Kremlin, a 9th century fortress built by the architects of the Moscow St. Basil Cathedral. A stunning historical monument on the high bank of Kazanka river brings together traditional Tatar and Russian architecture and culture. The Kremlin is comprised of 8 well-preserved towers (some of them with observation decks), the Blagoveshenskiy Cathedral, the lavish Qol Sharif mosque, numerous museum expositions and the “falling” Syuyumbike tower. If you have the time to spend a full day here, we recommend taking a guided tour to get to know the fascinating history and all the discover all the details of the Kazan Kremlin. But if all you have is one day, a quick look will still make for a big impression.
Moving down from the Kazan Kremlin to Kremlevskaya Naberezhnaya - the embankment stretching by its side. One of the most popular destinations in the city, it has been recently renovated, upgraded and equipped with all kinds of attractions for any liking: bike lanes, souvenir shops, cafés and restaurants to suit any pocket, live events, performances and workouts, a skating rink in the winter, and, of course, a fantastic view of the river.
An Italian two-storey fine dining restaurant with a lovely terrace facing the river is serving an excellent selection of traditional Italian dishes.
Cross over to the right bank of the Kazanka river: by foot it’s a 15 minute stroll over the Leninskaya Damba or just 1 stop by public transport. You will find yourself by the bowl shaped Kazan Family Center with an observation deck at the top, going up there will only cost you a dollar, making it a sweet deal for the view you will get.
Having soaked in the views from the right bank, head back to the left bank via the Millennium Bridge. You can absolutely walk the 1.5 km zig-zag bridge, but if you really are limited to the itinerary of one day, a taxi is in order. At the exit from the bridge you will find the Central Park for Culture and Recreation famous for its natural hills, it used to be called “Russian Switzerland” by the locals in the 19th century. Here you will find all kinds of outdoor entertainment and attractions to enjoy your time.
A walk through the city center via Karl Marx, Gorki, Shyapov streets allows to see many historical building and architectural monuments of Kazan and at the end takes you to the cozy Lyadskoy garden. Apart from the beautiful landscape with a fountain centerpiece, you will find a peculiar monument to a Tatar “babushka”.
Marusovka is located right in the Lyadskoy garden, in the Actors’ House building and it offers its guests a delicious European menu. Here you can enjoy the open terrace in the summer or their cozy interior in the winter. After a long day of exploring the city, wind down to the sounds of live music with a glass of wine.
We have kept one more sightseeing spot for the very end, in case instead of a food coma, you experience an energy burst and will still want to keep exploring.
Take the Ulianova-Lenina Ulitsa to get to Lenin Memorial House. Vladimir Lenin used to live in this house with his family in 1988-1989. The interiors of the 6 rooms have been fully restored, to capture and show the visitors Lenin’s life at that time.