Kazan wasn’t originally on our Trans-Siberian itinerary, but after so many Russians told us that we had to spend a few days in the beautiful city (especially if we were taking time to see forgettable Omsk) we penciled it in.
Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan, and proudly boasts having discovered the secret to peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. Maybe one day they’ll share their secret with the rest of the world?
At any rate, the Kazan Kremlin, a World Heritage Site, was pretty impressive, largely due to the huge mosque and church standing side by side within its walls.
Kazan is beautiful and definitely worth a stop if you’re traveling across Russia, especially as the mixture of Russian and Tatar culture there is really interesting.
On our second day in Kazan we went to the puppet theater on the recommendation of our Couchsurfing hosts. It seems like every Russian city has a puppet theater, so I figured seeing a show was pretty important for my education in Russian culture.
The performance ended up being a little strange with cloaked actors holding dolls and talking, and I did feel a little out of place surrounded by all the tiny children, but the theater was beautiful!
And then something happened that I never dreamed was possible: we went to a museum and I didn’t hate it!
You see, I have a very serious disorder where whenever I’m in a museum for longer than ten minutes I slip into catatonia. I often forget about my problem, happily entering a museum and enthusiastically reading all the captions in the first room or two. But it never lasts, and after a while Dan inevitably will find me slumped over on a bench somewhere, unable to muster the energy to look up until I’ve left the building.
I knew the same would happen at the Soviet Lifestyle Museum, and I remember nervously looking for a good spot to sit as soon as we entered. But then… there were old Soviet toys to play with! Soviet clothing to try on! Photos of random Soviet kitsch to take!
I didn’t fall asleep once. (SPOILER: I totally fell asleep in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. I know.)
I did, however, shed a few tears, because look who has the second best father of all time (first best belongs to this blogger here – sorry guys, but it’s true).
In case you can’t read the note, it says:
This jacket was sewn from the cover of party card because a father wanted his daughter to look fashionable.
In order to make the jacket he bought more than 120 covers from different stores in the city. Notice how the jacket is sewn from small patches and on a few of these patches you can see the inscription “КПСС” (communist party of the Soviet Union).
Now I’ll leave you all to get some tissues and email your papas, because dads really are the best.
Do you like museums? What’s the best one you’ve visited?
The Soviet Lifestyle museum looks amazing! I’m no big museum fan either but that looks amazing. Would absolutely love to do the Trans-Siberian Express.
The Trans-Siberian is so worth it! And when you do it you’ll have to make a little detour to Kazan 😉
Love that picture of you in the giant chair! If the whole theatre looks like that It would definitely spur my creativity.
If I were your Dad, I would go immediately to ModCloth and order about a hundred of those lovely fabric phone covers they have.
I know my dad would do that for me.
The theater was insane! I couldn’t believe that they had such a huge, extravagant building just for puppet shows.
jameela deen says
So you had fun in a museum? Interesting… I love your blog and the way you write + your pictures are really good. Keep them coming…
Thanks, Jameela, reading that makes me so happy! Because usually after publishing a new post I decide that I sound like the most annoying blogger ever, haha.
Museums? More like mu…zzzzzz….
The Soviet Lifestyle Museum looks so awesome though!
Miriam Risager says
I get bored at museums too, but this one looks really cool! Last week, I visited The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark where there are apartments and interior from the 1970s. I was prepared to fall asleep, but it actually turned out to be lots of fun.. We ended up staying there for 2 hours —> that’s a record!
Ooh that sounds like a museum I could like too! I’ll definitely have to check it out next time I’m in Denmark!
becky hutner says
That architecture is crazy beautiful. And you know how I feel about commie kitsch but for anyone else reading this, the word is LOVE.
I do like museums although I’ve definitely had my energy zapped in them before. This is probably why I prefer to get my art fix with a gallery-hop rather than a big, intimidating emporium covering every style since the beginning of time. As for history, I really enjoyed the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam and the War Museum in Saigon which I found completely emotionally draining but worth it.
Serious love for the kitsch. And gallery hopping is probably a much better approach for me as well. We’ve visited a few history museums on this trip too, and while a couple did put me to sleep at the end, I at least came out knowing way more about the history!
I can’t tell you how envious I am of your trip! It looks incredible. I’ll have to follow in your footsteps one day.
Russia definitely exceeded my expectations! I think I also need to redo this trip again someday, haha.