Kazan is a city in southwest Russia, on the banks of the Volga and Kazanka rivers. The capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, a semi-autonomous region, it's known for the centuries-old Kazan Kremlin, a fortified citadel containing museums and sacred sites. Kremlin landmarks include the tiered Tower of Soyembika, the blue-and-gold domed Annunciation Cathedral and the vast, colorful Kul Sharif Mosque.
Russia, the world?s largest nation, borders European and Asian countries as well as the Pacific and Arctic oceans. Its landscape ranges from tundra and forests to subtropical beaches. It?s famous for Moscow's Bolshoi and St. Petersburg's Mariinsky ballet companies. St. Petersburg, founded by Russian leader Peter the Great, has the baroque Winter Palace, now housing part of the State Hermitage Museum?s art collection.