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 | The Virgin Monastery of RaifaLocated 27 km (17 miles) west of KazanLocated 27 km (17 miles) west of Kazan
The Virgin Monastery of Raifa
7 am-9 pm
Located 27 km (17 miles) west of Kazan. Take highway M7 to the marked exit. Shuttle buses are available from Kazan and Zelenodolsk to the monastery.
The Baroque monastery complex was established in the seventeenth century on the shore of Lake Raifa, at the meeting point of three woodland zones - the southern taiga, the western temperate forest and the southern broadleaved woodland. This monastery is a shrine to the miraculous Georgian icon of the Mother of God.
The lands around Lake Raifa are the birthplace of Russian turpentine oil. Up until the end of the 1920s, Russia was unable to produce this indispensable product and imported it from France and the United States. It was believed that the Russian pines did not produce sap suitable for making turpentine and wood resin. It was not until 1924 that a group of scientists from Kazan discovered that the pines growing around Lake Raifa - Pinus sylvestris - produce lots of the highest-quality sap, with turpentine oil content of up to 35%.
This land is also famous for its silent frogs. Legend has it that once upon a time, the monastery’s founder Philaret, tired of the frogs’ constant croaking, implored: “Oh Lord! Let them live, but be silent!” And God heard the monk’s prayer and granted it. There is a Pilgrim House hotel with 25 rooms, a small cafe, a souvenir shop and paid parking with round-the-clock guards.