Minarets and Onion Domes
The Tatars and Russians of Kazan
self-published, New York, 2013. 76 pp., 52 color photographs, 10x8".
For a preview of the book, please go to http://alisonshuman.com/book/
Kazan is the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan, one of 21 semi-autonomous ethnic republics in the Russian Federation. It is located at the convergence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers about 800 kilometers east of Moscow. The city’s population is divided almost equally between the Tatars, who are historically Muslim, and the Russians, who are historically Orthodox Christian. The dismantling of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s kindled a slow but steady religious movement across Russia. In Kazan, churches and mosques were rebuilt, the Tatar language became an officially recognized language of Tatarstan alongside Russian, and ancient traditions kept alive in small villages fully integrated back into city life. The 2000s brought a more stable and safe environment and with that came a stronger resurgence of religious and cultural identity. What makes Kazan so extraordinary is that this process has unfolded not only with a marked lack of tension, but often with a spirit of mutual respect.