My visit to Kazan
Elena Zakova, NISPAcee Senior Manager
Last week I was in Kazan to discuss the preparation of the 25th NISPAcee conference with the Rector of the Kazan Federal University, Ilshat Gafurov, and the Director of the Institute of Continuing Education, Liliya Nurgatina, and all other members of the local organising committee.
Prior to my trip I did not know what to expect in Kazan – I had only minimum information from the internet. However, from the outset I was positively surprised by the city. Part of the reason was because of the people – very helpful and hospitable colleagues from the Kazan Federal University - who were acting as my guides and spent a lot of time with me. They not only showed me the impressive historical university building (one of 38 university buildings) with newly reconstructed meeting rooms, where our conference will be held in May 2017, but also the beauty of the city and surrounding area.
The city has a quiet and pleasant atmosphere; people are not in a hurry; everything is clean, tidy and safe. Kazan is full of historical beautifully reconstructed buildings. The main "attraction” is the Kazan´s Kremlin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Entrance is free. Visitors can just walk around, admire all the old buildings and statues there and, for example, visit the Annunciation Cathedral or Qol-Şärif mosque. Entrance is open to everyone, ladies should only cover their hair.
Our conference venue is in the city centre, surrounded by a number of hotels of different price categories. I have visited some of them. They are clean with very polite English-speaking staff and I would have no problem staying in any of them. They are really within walking distance of the university building. However, there will be also an opportunity to stay in the university guest house with the special atmosphere of a student city, which was built for sportsmen as a Universiade village in 2013. The local organisers have promised to organise transfers from the guest house to the conference venue by bus. However, there is also a direct connection by metro.
I must not forget to mention the island of Sviyazhsk. It is located about 1 hour by car from Kazan, at the confluence of the Volga and Sviyaga Rivers. We are planning to organise the after-conference sightseeing trip on Saturday afternoon for our conference participants there. Sviyazhsk was founded in 1551 as a fortress and today it is mainly a small village with the monastery and Orthodox churches.
I was in Kazan for 3 days and met the interesting and very committed colleagues who will prepare our conference. I visited the ballet in the Tatar State Opera and Ballet Theatre, walked in the city centre, visited the Kremlin and the historical island, admired the nature and most of all enjoyed the hospitality of our partners. I did not expect to have so many nice experiences during my short stay.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our partner and the colleagues involved for their immense hospitality. I strongly believe that NISPAcee, in cooperation with our partners from Kazan Federal University, will be able to provide similar positive feelings and experiences to our conference participants in May 2017.
So - welcome – we look forward to meeting you in Kazan!