Trans-Mongolian Train Trip – Kazan & on to Moscow.Saturday, 27 July 2013
We’re well into European Russia at Kazan, we’ve travelled around 7000km from Beijing and have just 820km to go. Kazan is our last long stop before Moscow and it’s a very long one, morning arrival, evening departure and the next day we rolled into Moscow before 12 noon.
We start our Kazan tour with an old Tatar church-like mosque, with a minaret plonked on top. The whole day we hear about Russia-Tatar relations and how everybody gets along just fine. We also hear all day about the Summer Universiade Games, a sort of Olympic games for university students, tonight is the closing ceremony.
There’s a lengthy visit to the Kazan’s Kremlin with its typically colourful Annunciation Cathedral and a slightly leaning adjacent tower and then the very bright blue and white Qolşärif Mosque. Although the mosque was built during the post-Soviet Union religious building blitz this not yet another replacement for yet another Stalin demolition job. Kazan’s mosque was demolished by Ivan the Terrible back in 1552, the replacement probably doesn’t bear too much relation to the original.
◄ The Qolşärif Mosque
▲ We also drop by the rather weird Temple of All Religions, a local enthusiast’s pet project to pack every possible religious architectural style into one place. It’s mad, but not mad enough. I’m sure I could have done better. Or worse.