Welcome to the capital of Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan!
We meet our local connections, drop our bags at a hostel, and immediately head out into the countryside for another early morning adventure.
This is actually the biggest of three karst lakes in the area, formed as a result of a collapsing caves, and reaching a depth of 18 meters or 60 feet.
The water never freezes, but it’s very cold and crystal clear all year-round.
After an extremely… refreshing morning, it’s back into Kazan for lunch.
and I don’t know what it is, but there’s something interesting about this city that I connected with right away.
It just feels warm and welcoming, and more laid back than the first two big cities we visited.
And if all this food isn’t enough, after lunch we stop at the Museum of Chak-Chak for a second dessert.
The home of a merchant is preserved to show visitors what life was like for traditional tatar people; traditions, customs, and of course, the secret art of making the perfect Chak-Chak – a quintessential Tatar dessert.
We sample the goodies and then we’re immediately hit with a sugar high.
When we finally shake the mental cobwebs from a boat ride siesta, Yaro and our guides explain the significance of this place.
The flourishing ancient city of Bolgar once rose from this land.
It was the capital of Volga Bulgaria dating all the way back to the 8th century, and it has been moved, sacked, looted, and conquered many times since.
Persians, Pirates, and Mongolians have all passed through, but the most significant aspect of this location is the fact that it is the birthplace of the Islam religion here in Russia.
We are ready to get back on the Trans-Siberian Railway for more Russia travel!