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Kazan. Part 6.Travelling Way Back in Time (The Volga Bolghar). Concluding Thoughts

I am not a fan of group tours, but it is good to have somebody else take care of navigation and time management for a change. Places like the one I have visited today might need a professional tour guide to help you decipher, decode and generally make sense of what is in front of you. I could have gone to one of the neighboring republics (Mari … Continue reading Kazan. Part 6.Travelling Way Back in Time (The Volga Bolghar). Concluding Thoughts

Kazan. Part 5. Great People of Kazan: Literature, Linguistics, Politics, Science

As per usual, my last full day in a new city is about exploring some parts which seem to have been left ignored. Well, it is no wonder these are often those closest to where you stay. Kremlin Street, which is home to the government institutions, is one of them. Actually through a glass window in my apartment landing going up and down … Continue reading Kazan. Part 5. Great People of Kazan: Literature, Linguistics, Politics, Science

Kazan. Part 4. The Volga River, Music, Metrolingualism

A graffiti showing a man wearing a tubeteika (a national cap) in Tatarstan Avenue Tatarstan Avenue led me to finally see the Volga River which has a special place in the hearts of Russians. It flows entirely through Russia. I knew I had to see this national river here for the first time in my life. While a … Continue reading Kazan. Part 4. The Volga River, Music, Metrolingualism

Kazan. Part 3. On the City’s Ethnic Identity, Tatar Language, The Other Side of Kazan

I am in my room in Kremlin Street listening to some Tatar music eating another new type of the locally made chakchak. Why is it we want to listen to national music to get us closer to the place we are visiting (that now I seem a bit more knowledgeable about)? There is this amazing ethnic song by a young Tatar … Continue reading Kazan. Part 3. On the City’s Ethnic Identity, Tatar Language, The Other Side of Kazan

Kazan. Part 2. On Religion, Ethnicity, Food

I spent the next day walking around exploring the interior of the Kul Sharif mosque and spending some extra time in there to escape the scorching heat. I also had my first encounter with the Kazan’s own version of the Moscow Arbat (a central pedestrianized street) followed by crossing through the Kazanka River to see the qazan-shaped family center with gorgeous views of the Kremlin. To … Continue reading Kazan. Part 2. On Religion, Ethnicity, Food

Kazan. Part 1

INTRODUCTION Why Kazan? Kazan (Казань in Russian, Казан in Tatar), Russia’s fifth largest city, had been at the top of my domestic travel list way before exploring our own country became a reality that we had to learn to embrace. What was it that drew me to the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan located in central Russia? I had expected it to be definitely somewhat different from anywhere in the country I’d been, … Continue reading Kazan. Part 1

30-Minute Writing Sketches in Sochi

PART 3. SOCHI Episode 8. A Morning in Central Sochi, 11.03am, April 22 Three days ago, excited for this final leg of the trip I got back to the sea. A long bus ride from Esto- Sadok took me to Sochi, the Russian Black Sea pearl, the country’s unofficial summer capital, the city that epitomizes a sea holiday in the minds of a lot … Continue reading 30-Minute Writing Sketches in Sochi

30-Minute Writing Sketches in Esto-Sadok

PART 2. ESTO-SADOK Episode 5. A Mid-Afternoon in the Mountains, Esto-Sadok, 2.55pm, April 17 The first morning in Esto-Sadok-Sadok I am sitting here in my cozy apartment watching the Western Caucasus mountains working magic of their own. My building looks somewhat like a Swiss mountain chalet offering awe-inspiring views of the Aibga Ridge from each of the apartments. … Continue reading 30-Minute Writing Sketches in Esto-Sadok