Volga Federal District
Republic of Tatarstan
Time: Moscow Time Zone (MSK/MSD). UTC offset is +0300 (MSK)/+0400 (MSD).
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Federal district: Volga (Privolzhsky) Federal District.
Main cities: Almetyevsk, Bugulma, Chistopol, Leninogorsk, Naberezhnye Chelny, Nizhnekamsk, Nurlat, Yelabuga, Zelenodolsk.
Land and Resources: The Republic is located in the center of the East European Plain, approximately 800 kilometers (497 mi) east of Moscow. It lies between the Volga River and the Kama River (a tributary of the Volga), and extends east to the Ural mountains. It borders Kirov Oblast (N), Udmurt Republic (N/NE), Republic of Bashkortostan (E/SE), Orenburg Oblast (SE), Samara Oblast (S), Ulyanovsk Oblast (S/SW), Chuvash Republic (W), Mari El Republic (W/NW). Major rivers include: Belaya River (Ağidel); Ik River (Iq); Kama River (Çulman); Volga River (İdel); Vyatka River (Noqrat). The biggest lake is Qaban. The biggest swamp is Kulyagash. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in central European Russia.
Climate: Moderate continental climate. Average January temperature: −16 ℃ (3.2 ℉); average July temperature: 19 ℃ (66.2 ℉.
Transportation: The Republic has a highly developed transport network. It mainly comprises highways, railway lines, four navigable rivers — Volga (İdel), Kama (Çulman), Vyatka (Noqrat) and Belaya (Ağidel), and oil pipelines and airlines.
Kazan is one of Russia`s largest cities. It remains the most important center of Tatar culture.
There are two museums of republican significance, as well as 90 museums of local importance. In the past several years new museums appeared throughout the Republic.
There are 12 theatrical institutions in Tatarstan.
A single-line metro opened on 27 August 2005. The Kazan Metro has five stations. But there are plans to extend the line in both directions. Kazan celebrated its millennium in 2005, when the largest mosque in Russia, Qolsharif, was inaugurated in the Kremlin, and the holiest copy of Our Lady of Kazan was returned to the city. Major objects like Millennium Bridge also were inaugurated that year. The date of "millennium", however, was fixed rather arbitrarily.
The city has a beautiful citadel, which was declared the World Heritage Site in 2000. Major monuments in the Kremlin are the 5-domed 6-columned Annunciation Cathedral (1561-62) and the mysterious leaning Soyembika Tower, named after the last queen of Kazan and regarded as the city`s most conspicuous landmark.
Also of interest are the towers and walls, erected in the 16th and 17th centuries but later reconstructed; the Qol-Şarif mosque, which is already rebuilt inside the citadel; remains of the Saviour Monastery (its splendid 16th-century cathedral having been demolished by the Bolsheviks) with the Spasskaya Tower; and the Governor`s House (1843-53), designed by Konstantin Thon, now the Palace of the President of Tatarstan.
Next door, the ornate baroque Sts-Peter-and-Paul`s Cathedral on Qawi Nacmi Street and Marcani mosque on Qayum Nasiri Street date back to the 18th century.
Central Kazan is divided into two districts by the Bolaq canal and Lake Qaban. The first district (Qazan Bistäse or Kazanskiy Posad), historically Russian, is situated on the hill, the second (İske Tatar Bistäse or Staro-Tatarskaya Sloboda), historically Tatar, is situated between the Bolaq and the Volga. Mosques, such as Nurullah, Soltan, Bornay, Apanay, Äcem, Märcani, İske Taş, Zäñgär 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 Märcani.
Another significant building in central Kazan is the former "Smolentzev and Shmelev" tea house and hotel, now the Shalyapin Palace Hotel. It is located at 7/80 Universitetskaya Street, at the corner of Universitetskaya and Bauman. A major landmark of late-19th and early-20th century commercial architecture, it consists of two portions. The original portion, built for a merchant named Usmanov in the 1860s, was bought by the inter-related families of Efim Smolentzev and Pavel and Nikolai Shmelev in 1899. They operated a store selling, among other things, tea. In 1910, the Smolentevs and Shmelevs constructed another portion, designed by architect Vasili Trifonov, and operated a hotel there. After the Russian Revolution, the building eventually became the Hotel Soviet and after 2000 it was heavily renovated to reopen as the Shalyapin Palace Hotel.
The Little Minaret of Bolghar is preserved since the Middle Ages.
The Black Chamber is another notable building in Bolghar.
Encarta World Atlas