Entertainment

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The university's museum opened for its 175th anniversary in 1979, and was remodelled in 2004. The memorial complex, which is the centrepiece of the museum, includes the assembly hall and auditorium No. 7 of the law department, complete with vintage cabinets, tilted desks and professor's rostrum… Everything is exactly as it was in the second half of the 19th century when Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin) both were students here. There are still many people out there who want to retrace Lenin's routes. Tourists from the People's Republic of China like to have their photographs taken sitting at the third desk in the law department auditorium, where Lenin used to sit. But this is not all the museum has to offer. There are 290 personal and 135 theme collections in the other rooms.

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Kurash is a folk belt-wrestling style widely popular among Turkic peoples, and the Tatars are no exception. The wrestlers, or batyr, use towels (or belts). The idea is to throw your belt around the other wrestler's waist in a bid to lift him up and throw him down on the ground. There is no use of legs in Tatar kurash, but some other nations wrestle more roughly.

The Tatar ASSR held its first kurash championship in 1940. The Federation of Tatar and Bashkir Kurash National Sports Wrestling was founded in 1968. In 2006 kurash was admitted on the programme of the Asian Games (the continental version of the Olympics).

Kazan hosted a kurash World Cup in 2010. The 2013 Summer Universiade, staged in Kazan, also included a kurash tournament. Perhaps the best occasion to watch some kurash wrestling matches is a Sabantuy folk festival, where it takes centre-stage, and the winner gets all kinds of amazing prizes: from a bighorn sheep to a car.

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Tatneft Arena, a symbol of Kazan's rejuvenation, was built for the city's millennium anniversary, marked in August 2005. It is also the home arena of the Ak Bars ice hockey club, many-time champions of the Continental Hockey League. The club was named Mashstroy when it was founded in 1956, was later renamed SK Imeni Uritskogo, and then Itil. It received its current name in 1995.

They love ice hockey in Kazan. The city got its first hockey teams right after the Great Patriotic War, in the late 1940s. But it was with the emergence of the Russian Super-League that Kazan's ice hockey scene really took off. Kazan's ice hockey clubs have been successful due to a combination of factors: the right strategy, persistent training, support from the republic's government, and stadiums always packed with faithful fans.

A visit to Tatneft Arena is an adventure in its own right. The stadium has two parking areas, for 800 and 440 vehicles, respectively. The hockey battle is in plain view from any seat, anywhere inside the stadium. But just in case something gets in the way of one's watching the game, there is a giant four-sided video cube up at the ceiling. There are a few cafeterias and a restaurant at Tatneft Arena. On the third level, there are some negotiating rooms locally dubbed "business cubicles." The VIP boxes are on the fourth level. A VIP box seats eight people. It has a separate entrance, elevator, balcony, phone, TV, coat-check and restroom.

The world's only active Anatomical Theatre belongs to the Department of Normal Anatomy of the State Medical University of Kazan, which was one of the first departments to open at the Imperial University of Kazan back in 1804. The department began collecting exhibits right away. The collection currently consists of six sections, namely: Man in Detail – A Glance through the Centuries, Bodily Life After Death, How I Work, From Conception to Birth, What Makes Me Different From Animals, Was Darwin Right? and 21th Century Man. The exhibits include some 16th-century mummies, and an impressive assemblage of skulls and skeletons.

Above the building entrance runs the inscription in Latin: Hiс lokus est, ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae (This is the place where death is glad to be of help to life). This 1837 building was designed by Mikhail Korinfsky, who drew his inspiration from anatomical theatres of the Renaissance. The great mathematician Nikolay Lobachevsky, who was then president of the Imperial University of Kazan, personally contributed to the project.

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There are two boat rentals on the bank of Nizhny Kaban Lake: one is by Kamal Theatre and it is open 24/7, the other is on the bay left of the entrance to Kazan (Bowl) Family Centre, open from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The rental by the Bowl offers Karelian-made drakkar type longboats. Before you embark on your journey, you will receive a safety briefing and the life vests: every person going in the boat has to put one on, even children of one or older.

Guided tours are available for groups of ten of more, called "The Secret Treasures of the Kaban Lake."

Егор Алеев/ТАСС

The best way to be introduced to Tatar cuisine is to make a local friend and invite oneself over. Tatar families really know how to cook. However, pretty good fresh baked goods are available in the shops. The famous chak-chak crafted by Baking Factory No. 3 can be found in shops like Bakhetle, as well as in any major chain store.

Walking around Kazan, you are likely to come across a spherical Tyubetey kiosk, which has a lot of good things on offer. The other places that are good to know about are Dom Chaya at Ulitsa Baumana, 64 (Baumana Street, 64); Dom Tatarskoy Kulinarii at Ulitsa Baumana, 31; and Tatarskaya Usadba at Ulitsa Shigabutdina Mardzhani (Shigabutdina Mardzhani Street, 8).

Along with chak-chak, we recommend you try the sweetest talkysh kaleve (Tatar baklava) and gubadiya – pastries stuffed with rice, raisins, eggs and kort (curds boiled in baked milk with dairy butter and sugar).

Every resident of Kazan visits this spot by the Kazanka River at least once a month. There was nothing here only a few years ago. Now there are five restaurants lined up, serving a selection of national cuisines from Italian to Japanese, and some of those in between. There is a playground with a kids' café, a mini steamroller, two carousels, and an area with workout machines. The central lane is teeming with roller-bladers and cyclists, not to mention cars. There are book-crossing shelves off to the side. The swan-shaped water-bikes on the river can be rented.

Concerts and festivals are frequently staged on the embankment.

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The building known as the Agricultural Palace was erected in 2010, replacing some unsafe structures lining Fedoseyevskaya Ulitsa (Fedoseyevskaya Street) near the park of the same name. It houses the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Tatarstan, the Veterinary Authority, and a few other agencies. Locals and visitors tend to have mixed feelings about this impressive building, featuring Empire and Classicist influences, complete with portals and a dome. Some call this kitsch, others admire Agricultural Palace as a symbol of anew Kazan.

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Ulitsa Baumana (Baumana Street), the first lane to be made pedestrian in Kazan in 1986, is a must-see for every visitor. The list of landmarks to be found on Ulitsa Baumana is very long. It includes the Epiphany Cathedral with its bell-tower, which is open to the public, Saint John the Precursor Monastery, Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, Kazan Academic Russian Bolshoi Drama Theatre of V. I. Kachalov, the constructivist former Press House, now a hotel, the statue of the great Russian bass singer Feodor Chaliapin, the Kazan Cat sculpture, the stationary replica of Catherine II's coach, and the fountains with sculptures of fabulous creatures.

The memorial tablet "Zero Meridian of Kazan" is also here, if you know where to look. Ulitsa Baumana is packed with Tatar and international restaurants and gift shops. There are plenty of amusements for kids on and around Ulitsa Baumana. Usually there are at least a couple of bands or solo musicians playing in the street. At the end of Ulitsa Baumana you approach the Kremlin.

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On Sunday mornings the Tinchurin Pocket Park is the place to be if you are into all things antique, handmade or otherwise quaint. Books, postcards, albums, pins, coins, icons, silverware and glassware, CDs, DVDs and much, much more. In other words, your classical flea market. Prices understandably varied from just 10 rubles to several thousands. If you are in the vicinity, pop in for a few minutes and haggle for a bit. Who knows, you may buy for a steal a piece of soviet heritage or a vintage vinyl which cannot be found online.

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