In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the right to brand itself as the "Third Capital" of Russia. In 2009 it was chosen as the "Sports capital of Russia" and it still is referred to as such. The city hosted the 2013 Summer Universiade, 2014 World Fencing Championships, the 2015 World Aquatics Championships, and is one of the host cities for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
In 2015, Kazan was visited by 2.1 million tourists, which is a 20% increase in comparison with 2014. The Kazan Kremlin was visited by 1.5 million tourists in 2015, and the city's hotel and entertainment complex with an aquapark called "Kazan Riviera" was visited by 1 million tourists.
The origin of the name Kazan is uncertain. The most accepted legends derive it from the Bulgar (and also modern Tatar) word qazan, which means 'boiler' or 'cauldron'. One legend claims that the city was named after the river Kazanka, which was named after the son of a Bulgar governor dropped a copper cauldron into it. Other local legends, including research by the Tatar scholar Shigabetdin Marjani, claim that the city was named for the resemblance of the hill on which it sits to an upturned cauldron.
There is a long-running dispute as to whether Kazan was founded by the Volga Bulgars in the early Middle Ages or by the Tatars of the Golden Horde in the mid-15th century, as written records before the latter period are sparse. Iske Qazan may have been a Bulgar city on the site; estimates of the date of its foundation range from the early 11th century to the late 13th century. It was a border post between Volga Bulgaria and two Finnic tribes, the Mari and the Udmurt. Another vexatious question is where the citadel was built originally. Archaeological explorations have produced evidence of urban settlement in three parts of the modern city: in the Kremlin; in Bişbalta at the site of the modern Zilantaw monastery; and near the Qaban lake. The oldest of these seems to be the Kremlin.
If Kazan existed in the 11th and 12th centuries, it could have been a stop on a Volga trade route from Scandinavia to Baghdad. It was a trade center, and possibly a major city for Bulgar settlers in the Kazan region, although their capital was further south at the city of Bolğar.
After the Mongols devastated the Bolğar and Bilär areas in the 13th century, either the surviving Bulgars recuperated in numbers and were assimilated by a small number of Kipchaks from whom they adopted their language (a position known as Bulgarism), or Kipchaks and Bulgars intermixed to create the modern Kazan Tatar population. Kazan became a center of a duchy which was a dependency of the Golden Horde. Two centuries later, in the 1430s, Kipchak descendants of Genghis Khan, such as Ghiasetdin of Kazan, usurped power from its Bolghar dynasty.
Some Tatars also went to Lithuania, brought by Vytautas the Great.
In 1438, after the destruction of the Golden Horde, Kazan became the capital of the powerful Khanate of Kazan. The city bazaar, Taş Ayaq (Stone Leg) became the most important trade center in the region, especially for furniture. Craft-based manufacturing also thrived, as the city gained a reputation for its leather and gold goods, as well as for the opulence of its palaces and mosques. The citadel and Bolaq channel were reconstructed, giving the city a strong defensive capacity. The Russians managed to occupy the city briefly several times.
Kazan Khanate was making constant plundering raids on Russia. Slavery in Kazan Khanate was legal. The number of slaves was up to 10% of the population. Most of the slaves were Russian people who were captured during raids. All captured men were forced to convert to Islam, otherwise they could be killed or sold into slavery to other Muslim countries.
As a result of the Siege of Kazan in 1552, Russia under Ivan the Terrible conquered the city and massacred the majority of the population. Also as a result of the Siege of Kazan 8,000 slaves were set free. During the subsequent governorship of Alexander Gorbatyi-Shuisky, most of the khanate's Tatar residents were killed or forcibly Christianized, the Kerashen Tatars. Mosques and palaces were ruined. The surviving Tatar population was moved to a place 50 kilometers (31 mi) away from the city and this place was forcibly settled by Russian farmers and soldiers. Tatars in the Russian service were settled in the Tatar Bistäse settlement near the city's wall. Later Tatar merchants and handicraft masters also settled there. During this period, Kazan was largely destroyed as a result of several great fires. After one of them in 1579, the icon Our Lady of Kazan was discovered in the city.
In the early 17th century, at the beginning of the Time of Troubles in Russia, the Tsardom of Kazan declared independence with the help of the Russian population, but this independence was suppressed by Kuzma Minin in 1612.
In 1708, the Tsardom of Kazan was abolished, and Kazan became the seat of Kazan Governorate. After Peter the Great's visit, the city became a center of shipbuilding for the Caspian fleet. The major Russian poet Gavrila Derzhavin was born in Kazan in 1743, the son of a poor country squire of Tatar ancestry though himself having a thoroughly Russian identity.
Kazan was largely destroyed in 1774 as a result of the Pugachev revolt (1774–1776), an uprising by border troops and peasants led by the Don Cossack ataman (Captain) Yemelyan Pugachev, but the city, formerly largely of timber construction, was soon afterwards rebuilt, using stone and according to a grid pattern plan, during the reign of Catherine the Great. Catherine also decreed that mosques could again be built in Kazan, the first being Marjani Mosque.
At the beginning of the 19th century Kazan State University and printing press were founded by Alexander I. It became an important center for Oriental Studies in Russia. The Qur'an was first printed in Kazan in 1801. Kazan became an industrial center and peasants migrated there to join its industrial workforce. In 1875, a horse tramway appeared; 1899 saw the installation of a tramway. After the Russian Revolution of 1905, Tatars were allowed to revive Kazan as a Tatar cultural center. The first Tatar theater and the first Tatar newspaper appeared.
In 1917 Kazan became one of the revolution centers. In 1918, Kazan was the capital of the Idel-Ural State, which was suppressed by the Bolshevist government. In the Kazan Operation of August 1918, it was briefly occupied by Czechoslovak Legions. In 1920 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. After the Treaty of Rapallo (1922) until 1933, the german and the russian army operated together the Kama tank school in Kazan.
During World War II, many industrial plants and factories to the west were relocated in Kazan, making the city a center of the military industry, producing tanks and planes. After the war Kazan consolidated as an industrial and scientific center. In 1979, the city's population reached one million.
In the late 1980s and in the 1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazan again became the center of Tatar culture and identity, and separatist tendencies intensified. With the return of capitalism, Kazan became one of the most important centers of the Russian Federation. The city went from 10th to 8th position in population ranking of Russian cities. In the late 2000s, the city earned the right to host both the 2013 Summer Universiade and 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Since 2000, the city has been undergoing a total renovation. The historical center—including the Kremlin—has been rebuilt, however a large number of the city's historical districts were completely demolished in the renovation. Kazan celebrated its millennium in 2005, after a city-organized historical commission settled on 1005 as the official year of the city's founding. During the millennium celebrations, one of the largest mosque in Russia, Qolsharif, was dedicated in the Kazan Kremlin, the holiest copy of Our Lady of Kazan was returned to the city, the "Millennium Bridge" was inaugurated that year, and the Kazan Metro began operation. The government of the Russian Federation released the Medal "In Commemoration of the 1000th Anniversary of Kazan". In 2010, for the preparations to the 2013 Universiade, Kazan began even more renovation by modernizing its airport, fixing the streets, enhancing public transport, and adopting Russian, English, and Tatar languages in all transportation, large stores, and shopping centers.
Kazan is the capital of the republic. Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as the city of republic significance of Kazan—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, the city of republic significance of Kazan is incorporated as Kazan Urban Okrug.
Kazan is one of the largest industrial and financial centers of Russia, and a leading city of the Volga economic region in construction and accumulated investment. City's Gross Regional Product had reached 380 billion rubles in 2011.
Total banking capital of Kazan banks is third in Russia. The main industries of the city are: mechanical engineering, chemical, petrochemical, light and food industries. An innovative economy is represented by the largest IT-park in Russia which is one of the largest of its kind among Eastern Europe science parks. Kazan ranks 174th (highest in Russia) in Mercer’s Worldwide Quality of Living Survey.
In 2011 city organisations and businesses attract more than 87 billion rubles for economy and social sphere development. This is 44% more than 2010 number. In 2014 businesses attracts 86 billion rubles. Most of them have been implemented in real economy sector.
Because of unstable economic situation within the country, there is a decrease of investment rates in 2015 and according to the statistics of the first part of the year it composed 51684.2 million rubles.
There are head offices of 6 companies that are in rating of top-500 in terms of revenues in Russia. Total square of city business centres is 330 thousand square metres.
Innovative economy in Kazan is represented by the biggest IT-park in Russia and also the biggest technical park in Europe. The only one online platform for governmental trade except the Moscow one is operated in Kazan. During post-soviet period Kazan was the leader in terms of house construction in Volga region and now it holds the position and implement Republican program of liquidation of dilapidated housing which was unique for Russia.
According to Forbes, Kazan has a 15th place in "Best cities for business in Russia" rating of 2010. Then in 2012 Kazan gets a 6th place in Quality of city environment rating, which is made by Russian Federation Ministry of Regional Development, Russian Alliance of Engineers, Federal Construction Agency, Federal Service of Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare and Moscow Federal University.
Kazan International Airport is located 26 kilometers (16 mi) from the city center. It is a hub for Tatarstan Airlines and Kazan Air Enterprise and hosts eleven air companies. The airport is connected with the city by bus route #97 and by a suburban train line.
There is also the Kazan Borisoglebskoye airfield, home to Kazan Aircraft Production Association, a major aircraft factory, famous in the past as "Aircraft Plant 22" ("22nd Zavod").
Adjacent to it lies a huge aircraft engines plant ("16th Zavod"). It produces versions of Tupolev 204 and 214 aircraft. In the past an Ilyushin-62, four-engine Russian mainliner, Tupolev-160 "Black Jack" supersonic strategic bomber and Tu-22M tactic bomber were also produced here. Both these plants and adjacent workers' housing make a whole city district known as "Aviastroitelny" ("Aircraft Builders").
Kazan is connected with Moscow, Ulyanovsk, Yoshkar-Ola and Yekaterinburg by train.
The main railway station Kazan–Passazhirskaya is located in the city centre and includes a main building (built in 1896), a commuter trains terminal, a ticket office building and some other technical buildings. Station serves thirty-six intercity trains and more than eight million passengers per annum. The second terminus called "Kazan-2" is situated in the northern part of the city. Kazan also has nineteen platforms for commuter trains.
This station serves intercity ships and commuter boats. Pneumocushion boats are used in winter. Daily passenger turnover reaches 6 thousand.
There are two bus stations in Kazan—Central and Southern. Bus routes connect Kazan with all districts of Tatarstan, Samara, Ufa, Tolyatti, Orenburg, Ulyanovsk, Cheboksary, Sterlitamak, Buzuluk, Baki, and Aktobe. It is planned to build new stations in the East, West and North districts instead of Central for relieving city centre.
There are federal highway connections to Moscow and Ufa (E-22), Orenburg (R-239), Ul'yanovsk (R-241) and Igra (R-242). There are also R-175 federal highway and "Northern Europe – Western China" (in construction) route near the city.
There are five bridges across the Kazanka (Qazansu) river in the city, and one bridge connecting Kazan with the opposite bank of the Volga.
Population: 1,143,535 (2010 Census); 1,105,289 (2002 Census); 1,094,378 (1989 Census). Kazan metropolitan area's population is 1.65 mln.
Rating of city population as on 1 January 2015
The city's population consists mostly of ethnic Russians (48.6%) and ethnic Tatars (47.6%). The other ethnicities are Chuvash, Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, Vietnamese, and Jews.
Predominant faiths of Kazan city are Sunni Islam and Orthodox Christianity, with Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism and the Bahá'í Faith also represented.
The Russian language is widely spoken in the city. Tatar is also widely spoken mainly by Tatars.
Kazan has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with long, cold winters (colder than Moscow), and warm, often dry summers. As a result of its far inland position, summers are extremely warm for its latitude and winters are quite cold compared to areas further west in Europe.
The warmest month is July with daily mean temperature near 20.2 °C (68.4 °F), and the coldest month is January, with a daily mean of −10.4 °C (13.3 °F).
The city set its two hottest days on record during the 2010 Northern Hemisphere summer heat waves. Temperatures reached +39 °C (102 °F) in the hottest days during that time.
The city has a citadel (Russian: кремль, tr. kreml', or sometimes Tatar: kirman), which was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000. Major monuments in the kremlin are the five-domed six-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, Kremlyovskaya, Dzerzhinsky, Tuqay, Puşkin, Butlerov, Gorkiy, Karl Marx and Märcani.
An old legend says that in 1552, before the Russian invasion, wealthy Tatars (baylar) hid gold and silver in Lake Qaban.
In the beginning of the 1900s most of Central Kazan was covered by wooden buildings, usually consisting of two floors. There was a historical environment of Kazan citizens, but not the best place to live in. During the Republican program "The liquidation of ramshackle apartments" most of them (unlike other Russian cities), especially in Central Kazan, where the land is not cheap, were destroyed and their population was moved to new areas at the suburb of the city (Azino, Azino-2, Quartal 39). Nearly 100,000 citizens resettled by this programme.
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.
Primary and secondary education system of Kazan includes:
There are also 49 music schools, 43 sports school, and 10 fine-arts schools, including the Kazan Art School founded in 1895.
There are 44 institutes of higher education in Kazan, including 19 branches of universities from other cities. More than 140,000 students are educated in the city. Kazan Federal University (founded in 1804) is third oldest university in Russia after Saint Petersburg State University (1724) and Moscow State University (1755). In 2009 KFU got Federal status as main university of Volga Region. Some other prominent universities are:
Kazan is a major scientific centre in Russia. Kazan formed a big number of scientific areas and schools (mathematical, chemical, medical, linguistic, geological, geobotanical, etc.). Scientific discoveries are a subject of special pride, including: the creation of non-Euclidean geometry (Nikolai Lobachevsky), the discovery of the chemical element ruthenium (Claus), the theory about the structure of organic compounds (Aleksandr Butlerov), the discovery of the electron paramagnetic resonance (Yevgeny Zavoisky) and acoustic paramagnetic resonance (Altshuler) and many others. The city hosts:
1814 year is considered to be an official year of the beginning of scientific medicine in Kazan. Exactly at that time University Hospital was open. In 1930 Faculty of Medicine is separated from the Kazan Federal University and holds a lot of specialized hospitals under its patronage. Nowadays Kazan becomes the largest public health center in Russia. 120 medical organisations are operated in the city. Kazan Interregional clinical-diagnostic center is the largest in Volga region in cardiovascular and neurological diseases. The largest hospital in Kazan is Republican Clinical Hospital.
İlsur Metşin became the mayor of Kazan on November 17, 2005.
Kazan City Duma is a representative body of the city, elected every four years and holds its sessions in Kazan City Hall.
Executive committee is a municipal body of the executive organs. The committee's head is Denis Kalinkin.
Kazan hosts Tatarstan President's residence and administration (in Kremlin), Tatarstan's Cabinet of Ministers and Council of State (on Freedom square).
Kazan now is one of the most developed cities in Russia in terms of sport. The city has hosted two Bandy World Championships, in 2005 and 2011, the World Summer Universiade 2013, the World Championship in fencing in 2014, the Aquatics Championship FINA 2015, 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and other international competitions of various levels. In the future the city will hold the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The city of Kazan is a leader in terms of winnings in various sports including its most popular sports teams.