Even Kazan has its own Arbat.
My first sight of the day is long two kilometres and it is the pedestrian street of Kazan, split in two parts: the more elegant Bauman Stret and the also interesting Peterburgskaya Street. I don’t have to go too far from my hotel. Basically Bauman Street starts just below the Kremlin. Weather seems much better today and the Kremlin’s white walls are shining. However today my goal is another one so let’s take Bauman street known also as Kazan’s Arbat. Actually it reminds a lot of Moscow’s Arbat and I can say that is at least as pleasant as the most famous one. Presence of attractions for tourist here is less aggressive also because of course even if Kazan is easily reachable by train, as I did, or by flight (less than two hours from Moscow) the amount of tourists is much lower than in the Russian Capital. Bauman street is spotted by several beautiful landmarks and old wooden houses. I would like to mention Saint Nicholas’ church, the Cathedral of the Epiphany with its impressive bell tower, Saint Peter and Paul’s cathedral that requires a little detour and the big cat monument that it is said brings luck if you touch its paws. The street ends in Tukaya square with a strange watch with Arabic signs. I’m surprised because are not just the Arabic figures but apparently entire words. Bauman has its logical continuation into Peterburgskaya that is not so nice as the other but has its interesting sights as well. One is the Kukol (Puppet) theatre with funny decorations, the other one is a sort of Ethno park with wooden buildings some of them hosting cafes and restaurants. Talking about funny decoration I must mention a giant Pirozhki located in this park. It is a bit kitsch but as I can see is a very popular areas among the locals so I think I can maybe come here for dinner.
Back home on alternative route.
Now that I’m pretty far from the centre and therefore also from my hotel I need to come back. I could do it using the small Kazan’s metro made of just one line, but I prefer to walk and of course doing it as much as I can on a different path. On the way back one of the most interesting sight I see is the nice pale blue Catholic Parish of the Holy Cross. It is considered interesting also by a couple of young girls, maybe students of an artistic school, that are drawing its profile on paper. The nearby millennium park is also quite nice with its big fountain decorated with dragons spitting water and with the statue of the Tatar poet Gabdulla Tukay. What instead I find a bit anonymous and quite disappointing is the walk along the canal that only some graffiti close to the bridge is able to revive it. It seems that in the aim of making it interesting at least for some living being they’ve decided to put a distributor of seeds for pigeons and the birds confirm their appreciation stopping close to it waiting for next one investing 5 rubles for their happiness.
Dining under full moon.
Not only pigeons need to be fed but me as well. One McDonald a month is more than enough and I did it already yesterday. A quick metro ride brings me from Kremlin to Tukaya square allowing to see one of the most fantastic full moon of my life. Moon is still relatively low on the horizon and Peterburgskaya street heads exactly toward it so the moon appears incredibly huge. When I arrive restaurant is quite full. Inside they’re dancing, it is Friday, but I’m not upset not being part of the party. Sitting outside eating Tatar food is just perfect. After the local version of the Solyanka and a tasty meat with cheese unfortunately they don’t have, as dessert, what is probably the most famous Tatar specialty, the Chak-Chak. This cake is something I know very well since I was a child and not because I have Tatar roots. Chak-Chak is very likely the original version of a sweet known in Naples as “Struffoli” and usually eaten at Christmas time. I ate it for the first time with this name in Buchara in Uzbekistan where is also known. Here in Tatarstan is considered as a sort of National Dish and sold at every street corner in plastic boxes. It is basically made of small deep fried doughs mixed with honey. I like it a lot but tonight I won’t have it. What I can have is an extra session of photos in the Kremlin at night. Tomorrow I won’t have this chance because I will have to take train to Yekaterinburg around 8:00 PM. Illumination of the Kremlin is well done, especially for what it regards the mosque. I’m finally able to use the tripod restored to full efficiency after Bucharest. Happy for the dinner and for the photo session I go back to the hotel to sleep but I leave you with my Kazan Photo Gallery.