Kazan is one of the most interesting stops on the Trans-Siberian Railway as here the West meets the East, Europe meets Asia, Orthodox churches stand side by side with mosques, and Tatar can be heard alongside Russian speech. The city has a thousand years of history and beautiful monuments of architecture. If you have the opportunity to travel a couple of hundreds of kilometres from Kazan you can also see a wonderful sight of Eastern delight: Bolgar - the ancient capital of Volga Bulgaria, which boasts the world's largest Quran and one of the most spectacular mosques in Russia. Alternatively, you could take a trip to Yelabuga, a city where scenes of 19th century provincial Tatarstan have been preserved. If you prefer to stay closer to Kazan you can visit the "island-city" of Sviyazhsk, which was founded by Ivan the Terrible as part of his campaigns to conquer Kazan.