Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Kazan Family Center

Last weekend, we went to a tulip festival. I still see a thousand acres of neon flowers when I close my eyes, so instead of sharing those photos today, here's something totally different.

Welcome to Kazan, Russia. The city is home to 1.1 million people and it's the capital of Tatarstan. I think I love it almost as much as I love Kharkiv!

The university organized a short trip to Kazan last summer. One Saturday morning, we stumbled off the overnight train, squeezed into a private marshrutka, and immediately drove here. It was so early in the morning that only joggers and sidewalk sweepers were out. The benches and streets were empty.

We spilled out of the marshrutka while the university chaperone argued with someone on her cell phone. Although a local guide was supposed to meet our group at the train station, she was missing in action (hence the angry phone call.) The chaperone waved us off to walk along the river bank while she continued her conversation.

Dragons, gargoyles, and other beasts surrounded the building which- get this- is the local ЗАГС, marriage registry! Would this be a crazy amazing place to get married or what?!

The Kazan Family Center.

Looking on the internet now, I see that you can go up to the top of the building for a small fee. (The city's fairytale Kremlin sits atop a hill just across the river.) Even though everything was still closed up that morning, the views were still nice. Here's a view looking towards "downtown" Kazan.

The creature statues were straight out of legend. In fact, this particular creature is well-displayed throughout Kazan.

Meet the зилант, a snake-dragon hybrid. You can read more about it on Wikipedia. The city is full of зилант statues and even features the animal on its flag.

And then we were waved back to the marshrutka, driving on deeper into the city. This place is just one of a billion things that captured my heart in Kazan. (More coming soon!) Do you like the building's heavy feel, or do you think a wedding palace should be more ethereal?


  1. There's nothing like walking off an overnight train and into a day of sightseeing... I feel like that's a popular (necessary choice) for travel in Russia. I'm not a fan!

    1. Haha, so true! It's definitely an adventure, always. But after crossing the 30 mark, I've started to alternate between being a fan and "where's a luxury hotel for my nap?" ;)

  2. I just got done spending 3 whole days translating documents for a Tatarstan website company. I just learned you can go up there too! I need to go back to Kazan. Doing those translations was making me want to go back!

    1. Maybe you and A can make a quick weekend getaway this month? It would be so cool if you went up and took pictures from the top!