We’re continuing to make good progress. After an overnight 12 hour run from Moscow we arrived in Kazan, the capital of the Tartar region. This remarkable city is a sort of model of religious tolerance – Muslims, Jews, Catholics & Russian Orthodox rub shoulders with each other in a relaxed atmosphere while preserving significant local pride in their Tartar heritage.
At the centre of the city is the Kremlin (Fortress) a huge walled complex housing religious, legislative and administrative headquarters. The entire thing is painted white. When we arrived the snow on the ground combined with the falling snow and the white structures to create an extraordinary feeling of being suspended in white space with no horizon to refer to..
The primary splashes of colour come from the rather pretty traditional Tartar houses, of wood construction above the ground floor – food and animals on the ground floor, people on the floors above.
After a traditional Tartar lunch which involved the local version of a Cornish Pasty we walked along the main shopping street for a host time and then re-boarded the train for the overnight journey across the Ural Mountains to Yekaterinburg.