A city with two souls

If cultures with different origins and religions live side-by-side, could they coexist and collaborate without conflicts and wars? At the same time could they save their national identity? These are two big questions for global society, and particularly for the Russian Federation. Russia is the largest country by area in the world. People of the Russian Federation all together are Russians, but actually there are more than 185 different nationalities, which belong to many religions.

At a distance of 800 kilometers to the East from Moscow is located the national Republic of Tatarstan. “Tatarstan” is derived from the name of the ethnic group, the Tatars, which have been living there since the 13th century. The capital of this Republic is Kazan – the city with a 1000-year history. Nowadays it is already 1,176,187 inhabitants. It is where the Asian East meets the Russian West, the population evenly divided between the Volga Tatars (47,6%) and Russians (48,6%). The Tatars are Sunni Muslims and the Russians are Eastern Orthodox Christians. Kazan’s multicultural and multireligious experience could be a very good example for many countries to learn to live productive and peaceful lives accepting the cultural diversity of their neighbors.

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The signing of a cooperation agreement with the Cabinet of Ministers of Tatarstan, Tatarstan archdiocese, and the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Tatarstan, 2015

Kazan historically received a significant advantage for mutual understanding both with European as well as with the eastern people. Kazan is located in the center of the European part of Russia, and therefore Kazan residents are Europeans. With eastern countries they have the same religion – Sunni Islam, which is followed by the majority of inhabitants of Tatar nationality. Plus, Tatar language, which has Turkic basis, has a large number of Arab and Persian words. At the same time, almost equal proportion of Russian people allows the place to be in harmony with the rest of the Russian Federation. This leads to probably the best regional external policy in Russia. As a result, in the last ten years Kazan was on the peak of its development and success. Kazan was the host city for the 2013 World Summer Universiade, in 2015 for the World Aquatics Championships, and in 2018 Kazan will host the FIFA World Cup. It is accompanied by major renovations of the city infrastructure, increasing the quality of life for residents. Kazan is one of the most innovative and ambitious cities in Russia. The residents of Kazan are very proud of their city. Their average level of satisfaction and happiness is higher than in neighbor regions.

Video: 27th Summer Universiade in Kazan 2013 – Welcome

Video: 2015,the World Aquatics Championships – Teaser

Video: KAZAN – 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Host City (available only on the YouTube)

Islam and Orthodox Christian Church are two pillars, which are the base and pride of local society. In the heart of the city – in Kazan Kremlin the great Annunciation Cathedral and majestic Qol-Şärif mosque stand together as a symbol of this alliance. The residents celebrate both Christian and Muslim holidays. There is no significant nationality conflict. We can see a big controversy within the current global situation. At the moment there are lots of religious conflicts, wars, acts of terrorism, and aggressive organizations around the world. But if we have such examples, as Kazan is, perhaps we can achieve the cultural and religious mutual understanding and harmony worldwide.

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Panorama of the Kazan Kremlin, view from Kremlin dam side. Photographer: F.Gubaev

Sources:

History of Kazan http://aboutkazan.com/kazan-russia-history-chronology.shtml

http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1059468.html

Geography of the Republic of Tatarstan http://www.briefgeography.ru/wagl-738.html

External policy http://tatcenter.ru/article/109196/

Historic and Architectural Complex of the Kazan Kremlin http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/980

http://www.kazan-kremlin.ru/en/about/

Russian Orthodox Church in Tatarstan http://www.kazan-mitropolia.ru

https://www.instagram.com/tatarstan_mitropolia/

Tatarstan President’s official website http://president.tatarstan.ru/eng/kremlin.htm

Islamic news in Russia http://www.islamnews.ru/

 

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