Pont Alexandre III – this is how the French were seducing czars;)
More precisely Kazan (Volga region) Federal University is one of the oldest universities in Russia. Founded in 1804 by Alexander it hosted many famous students such as Nikolai Lobachevsky, known as the creator of non-Euclidean geometry and a father of eighteen children. With time, he became the rector of the university. Also Marian Kowalski – a Russian astronomer of Polish descent attended this school. As well as Leo Tolstoy – “this” Tolstoy, and Lenin – also “this one”. The last two did not complete their education at the University of Kazan. Tolstoy’s academic failures in some way led to explore the intellectual work by himself. In the near future he became a writer. Lenin was expelled from the university after three months of studying law due to his involvement in revolutionary circles. Contrary to Tolstoy, he continued to follow that path. He became a “revolutioner” and the leader of the USSR. Despite short stay at the university memorabilia related to both well-known figures occupy a large part of the local museum showcases.
Kazan is the place where the mythical golden boiler, belonging to a Bulgarian ruler, was sunk while scooping water from the Volga. What was he doing there, the Bulgarian ruler? According to one version of the foundation of the town, Kazan was established by the Bulgarians in the twelfth century.
Bolgar is a town located in Tatarstan by the Volga river, exactly by the Kuybyshev Reservoir, the largest reservoir in Europe (6,450 km²). Within easy range from the town one can visit the excavated monuments of the Bolghar, a medieval capital of Volga Bulgaria in VIII-XV centuries. Volga Bolgaria is viewed by many Tatars as a predecessor state of the Khanate of Kazan. The place does not play an important role in modern Tatarstan in terms of the economic or political issues. Calling it “a tourist attraction” as you can read in the Russian Wikipedia would be also an overestimation. Still, the sight is very important to a muslim community. During the Soviet period, Bolghar was a pilgrimage destination for muslims in Soviet Union who could not travel to Mecca (the movement was known as The Little Hajj). In the recent years, the Republic of Tatarstan has been investing in the archeological projects with ambitions to put the historic complex on the UNESCO list.