Kazan – the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan – is situated in the heart of the Russian Federation between Volga River and Ural Mountains. Kazan, with population of more than 1.2 million people, is one of the largest industrial, cultural and sport city in Eurasia.
The multi-ethnic city of Kazan with its historic heritage is honored by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Kazan serves as a perfect example of the peaceful co-existence of Muslims and Christians in one place. People with versatile cultural backgrounds consider Kazan their home. Based on 2010 census, almost 4 million people live in Tatarstan with the Tatars (Volga Tatars) comprising the majority. Republic of Tatarstan – an indigenous motherland of the Tatars – is a hub for the Tatar culture and lifestyle. The Tatars have customs and traditions that are influenced by Islam and those differ from the Russian/Slavic. Tatar culture encompasses well-developed literature, theater, opera, ballet, fine and decorative arts, architecture, and music. The majority of Tatars are Sunni Muslims: Islam was adopted in the 10th century during the times of the Volga Bulgaria. Some modern Tatar Muslims fully practice Islamic rituals, some do it selectively.
Tatar language is an official language of Republic of Tatarstan. Tatar language is structurally different from Russian (Slavic), it belongs to Turkic language group of the Altaic language family. The modern written Tatar language is based on the Cyrillic script since 1938, prior to that it was in Latin, Arabic scripts, Uyghur writing and ancient Turkic runes.
Tatar cuisine prides itself with numerous variations of staples of pastoral nomads: meat, bone broth, dough, grains, root vegetables. Tatar small pies – byalish, uchposhchmak, peremeshch– are famous for their tastiness and “homey” flavour. Tatar dessert shchyaq-shchyaq (fried dough pieces assembled with honey) is a must on any get-together. Shchyaq-shchyaq is always accompanied with a cup of the Tatar Shchai – a delicate brew of wild marjoram flowers with black tea leaves that can be enjoyed with milk or steeped with lemon and zhimesh (dried fruits).