Old Tatar Neighbourhood

Two blocks down from Ulitsa Baumana (Baumana Street) is the Old Tatar Neighbourhood – a historical settlement that appeared beyond the town walls when the local residents were driven from Kazan after its sacking by Ivan the Terrible. This was a place where Tatar history and culture were reborn, this is where the unique local architecture was formed at the end of the 18th or beginning of the 19th centuries. In 1992, the Old Tatar Neighbourhood was given the status of an architectural conservation area. Here you can see mosques and madrasas that operate just like they did 300 years ago, visit the memorial houses of Tatar writers and have lunch at halal cafés where food is prepared according to Islamic rules.

One of the main landmarks is the Al-Marjani Mosque – the first stone mosque, built in Kazan with permission given by Catherine the Great herself in 1766. The famous decree on religious tolerance was not signed by the Empress for another seven years. To build the mosque, 62 Kazan residents raised an astronomical sum of 5,000 rubles (in gold), and construction only took three years. For many years the mosque was the main spiritual centre of Tatar Kazan.