Kazan is a feast of a city. Cold winters and hot summers, Muslim minarets and Orthodox monasteries, the ancient archeological sites and the science city of Innopolis, forest steppes, taiga and the Great Silk Road all mix in the cauldron that is the Tatar capital. The result of this melting pot is the self-sufficient and self-assured third capital of Russia that each year extends a warm welcome to a million guests who come here to experience all sorts of impressions and emotions.
Kazan 2018 | Sculpture of Kazan CatThe cat is Kazan's totem animalThe cat is Kazan's totem animal
Sculpture of Kazan Cat
The cat is Kazan's totem animal. According to one of the many legends associated with the taking of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible, a cat had warned the Khan of an underground tunnel being dug underneath the fortress. While this legend beggars belief, it is an attested fact that Empress Elizabeth ordered 30 cats from Kazan to Saint Petersburg in 1745. Their job would be to hunt mice in the Winter Palace.
Cats were steady characters of Tatar lubok – folk kitsch – from the 17th century on. "Kazan cats with Astrakhan smarts and Siberian intelligence, sitting by the door, singing songs, spinning tall tales," goes the inscription under some of the Tatar folk cat motifs. One popular motif was "a cat's burial by the mice."
A stone cat statue was erected in 2009 on the bank of Raif Lake. Another, aluminium one stands at the intersection of Ulitsa Baumana (Baumana Street) and Ulitsa Musy Dzhalila (Musy Dzhalila Street). There is also a bronze cat sculpture outside the entrance of the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan at Ulitsa Kremlyovskaya (Kremlyovskaya Street), 2.