KazanDo you know where Kazan is?
It takes about one and half hours to fly from Moscow to Kazan. So, where is this city? Look at this map.
City of Harmony?In 2009, Hillary Clinton, as the Secretary of State of the United States, went to Russia to talk with Russian leaders. After finishing her official business in Moscow, she made an unscheduled trip to a Volga city of Kazan before coming back to the United States. The question is why? Why was Kazan so special to her?
Hillary Clinton in Russia (2009).
for Hillary photos
- While in Moscow, she probably heard that Kazan is a city where Moslems
and Christians live in harmony. She went there to see how this is possible.
While she was in Kazan, she shook hands with the religous leaders from both sides. Click here for a Russian video of how Hillary was shaking hands with those religious leaders.
The question is whether it is possible to understand the basic issue of living together in harmony by shaking hands with those high-ranking Christian bishops and Mostlem ayatolas. The answer is clearly No. This is indeed the handicap for politicians. Then, can I do a better job than Hillary? Not necessarily, but I met many ordinary people and I knew the history of the city before going there.
- In 1960, I heard about Kazan from Sergei Eisenstein's film
entitled "Ivan the Terrible."
- Who was Eisenstein? Click here.
- Why is it so important in making webpages? Click here.
- Who was Eisenstein? Click here.
- In 1999, I made my first visit to Kazan. I went there at the invitation of Professor
of Kazan State University, I met many Russians with Christian
background and also many with Moslem background. They were telling
me Kazan is the only city in the world where Moslems and Christians
live together harmoniously.
- After I gave a talk, one person from the audience came to me whether I am
a Taoist. I said No, because I have no recollections of reading any books on
Taoism. I then asked him why he was asking this question. His answer was I
was singing harmony throughout my talk. I then asked him where in my talk I
mentioned the word "harmony." He said I never mentioned the word, but my talk
was entirely based on the harmony. It is thus possible Kazan's life style
could have produced their own concept of harmony. This is could be an important
homework problem for philosophers. We all know how
Kantianism was produced in Koenigsberg (now Kaliningrad).
- In 2010, I made my third trip to Kazan to attend the Petrov Centennial Conference.
Look at my physics quartet page. you will
see Einstein, Dirac, Wigner, and Feynman. For many years, I have been composing
quartets with these four great physicists as instruments, as Hayden and Beethoven
composed their quartets based on four string instruments. I have a temptation
to name my papers EDWF Quartet No. 1, No. 2, ---.
The harmony is the key variable in those papers. Let me stop talking
about my own physics, but you may still be interested in why I am
so excited about the harmony in physics.
Click here for my harmony webpage.
- After I gave a talk, one person from the audience came to me whether I am a Taoist. I said No, because I have no recollections of reading any books on Taoism. I then asked him why he was asking this question. His answer was I was singing harmony throughout my talk. I then asked him where in my talk I mentioned the word "harmony." He said I never mentioned the word, but my talk was entirely based on the harmony. It is thus possible Kazan's life style could have produced their own concept of harmony. This is could be an important homework problem for philosophers. We all know how Kantianism was produced in Koenigsberg (now Kaliningrad).
Who created the city of Kazan?
|Ivan the Terrible in Kazan.|
The Volga River makes a right turn |
toward the Caspean Sea in Kazan.
- The Mongolian conquest of the 13th Century divided the Slavic community
into two. One around
Kiev, Ukraine, and the other centered around a new settlement called
Moscow, which is now called Russia. Russia was not a significant country
until the Russian ruler called
Ivan the Terrible expanded his territory to the Volga River.
In so doing he had to conquer the strong Moslem city of Kazan with an
elegant Mosque called Kul-Sharif.
- Like all Russian rulers at that time, his ideaology was Russian orthodox
- However, that territory was under Islamic influence, better civilized than
those Russians. How did Islamism come to
this region? The answer is the waterway provided by the Volga River.
Click here to see the map.
Like Stalin, Ivan the Terrible was a ruthless man. He burnt down the entire city of Kazan, and attempted to eradicate the Islamic culture in the conquered area. However, it is not possible to eradicate culture, and the Islamic base is still strong in Kazan.
- Like all Russian rulers at that time, his ideaology was Russian orthodox Christianity.
- Ivan IV (the Terrible) is known these days as the Russian ruler
who built the Cathedral of Saint Basil in Moscow.
- The Cathedral of St. Basil was constructed during the era of
Ivan IV or Ivan
the Terrible (1547-1584).
- There is a theory
that Ivan IV ordered his troops dismantle the Mosque to move it to Moscow. He
then reconstructed the structure to build the Cathedral.
Let us compare the Cathedral with the
present form of the Kul-Sharif Mosque.
- These day, one half of the Kazan population are Moslems. They reconstructed
their modern version of the Kul-Sharif Mosque according to the original
version. While the exact picture of the original mosque is not available
(because stolen by Ivan the Terrible), they constructed the model based on
what they heard from their ancestors. Click
here for the image of the original mosque.
- Kazan is an interesting Volga city. Catherine the Great was there. Hillary Clinton was there. I have been there three times. Unlike those distinguished ladies, I talked with many common people there. I also went there with my own camera and take many photos. I would like to share some of those photos with you.
These two structures appear to
share the same ancestry.
- The Cathedral of St. Basil was constructed during the era of Ivan IV or Ivan the Terrible (1547-1584).
Kazan State University
|Czar Alexander I|
In order to expand Russian cultural influence to the east beyond the
Volga River, Czar Alexander I decided to strengthen a university
in Kazan in 1815, known today as Kazan State University. As you
know, Napoleon had some problems with Alexander I.
Nicoli Lobachevsky (1792-1856) was played the key role
in setting up the university as a research institution.
Lobachevsky initiated a new geometry. He questioned
why the sum of the internal angles of a triangle has to be
180 degrees, and this question evntually led to the concecpt of
In this photo, I am standing next to Lobachevsky's statue on the campus. I am with a Russian professor.
- Vladimir Lenin attended this
University, but he got kicked out. He was expelled from the university
because he was a trouble maker interested in revoluions. Yet there is
a statue of Lenin in front
of the University's main building.
- Leo Tolstoy
is also an important person. He also spent one year at Kazan State University.
He was a bad student and was told to leave. He was only interested in
girls and dancing.
Tolstoy is an important person to Russians. He is also important to Koreans. How?
- Alexei Zinovievich Petrov
(1910-1972) formulated the Lobachevsky geometry for general relativity.
For his extensive contributions to Soviet physics and mathematics.
He was awarded in 1972 the Lenin Prize (highest honor Russians could get
during the Cold-War period).
- Asya Aminova was Petrov's student. She maintains a conference series entitled "Petrov School." She invited me to one of her conferences held at Kazan's Volga beach in 2001. She invited me again to the Petrov Centennial Conference in 2010.
- Another View of the Campus.
- This Small Building looks like the university president's residence. I was not able to confirm this.
- Old Class Room where both Lenin and Tolstoy studied.
- Physics Building.
How many universities in the world have physics buildings as big as this?
Entrance to the Physics Building.
- My photo with students in front of Lenin's statue.
- Statue of Lobachevsky. How do I look here?
- Lenin's statue in front of the government building. I took this photo in 1999.
- Lenin's statue remained unchanged in 2010, the government building became different.
Moslems and Christians
Kul-Sharif Mosque in Kazan's Kremlin. This structure was constructed
in 2005. The original mosque was built at this location in 1552, but Ivan the
Terrible destroyed it after conquering Kazan. Then the second edition was constructed
at the same place. The present building is the third edition. Scholars say that
some element of Saint Basil's Basilica in
Moscow were copied from the original version of this mosque.
- The Mosque and Kremlin seen from some distance.
- A Model of the Earlier version replaced by the present structure.
- A Moslem Family who came to this Mosque to pray.
Annunciation Cathedral (1561-62). After destroying the Kul-Sharif
Mosque, Ivan the Terrible built this Russian Orthodox cathedral.
- Spasski Tower. While Kazan was under
Russian domination, this tower was constructed at the entrance of the Kremlin. The
cross at the top was replaced by a star by the communist regime.
- Christian Churches are everywhere
in Kazan, but there are more Moslems than Christians.
Before continuing my story, I have to explain my cultural background. I was born and raised in Korea in a strict Confucian tradition, but I also have a strong Christian background.
To me, Jesus and Confucius say the same thing. For this reason, wherever I go in the world, ladies feel safe to be with me. You may chech this webpage to check what I am saying. I seem to enjoy this special freedom. The question is whether this freedom is applicable to Moslem ladies.
- The city of Kazan consists of both Christian and Moslem populations, and they
live together harmoniously. Most of them do not show their religious preferences
and dress up like all other Russians, but some Moslem people like to assert
themselves. I took some photos.
- Students at Kazan State University. I was told not to touch them.
- Moslem Store. There are Moslem souvenir stores. These ladies became very happy with me because I bought some items in their store.
- at a Coffee Shop. We walked around too much. We needed a rest.
- In non-Moslem style, we had a photo together. Her name is Zulphia, and I like to her again.
Based on my experience with Moslems in Kazan, Confucius, Jesus, and Mohammed say the same thing. This is the basis for their harmony.
Kazan as a Music City
- Russian Ballerinas.
Russians produce great ballets, and those ballerinas look like dolls or
angeles on the stage. How would they look when they are passengers on
an airplane. I met these ladies on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to
Kazan (June 2001). This photo was taken when we were waiting on line for
passport inspection at Kazan's international airport. They are holding
their Russian passports.
- Irina Bachkova is a professor
at Moscow Conservatory located near Moscow's Bolshoi theater. She was
born in Kazan (Russia) and was in Kazan during the summer of 2001 to
be with her mother.
At Kazan State University, while attending the 2001 Volga meeting of
theoretical physics, I heard her playing Beethoven's violin sonata
No. 5 "Spring." I heard this Sonata when I was a high-school boy, and
decided to live like the Spring Sonata. She was therefore playing
my life. I was so happy that I gave her a postcard carrying a photo
of Beethoven's four string
instruments from my portable photo album.
By giving this card, I was able to convince her that I was a Beethoven
lover. She also told me she becomes very happy whenever she plays
Beethoven's sonatas. Beethoven wrote ten violin sonatas, and his fifth
and ninth sonatas, known as Spring and Kreutzer respectively, are
very popular among the music lovers throughout the world.
- Concert Hall in Kazan. Kazan is
a Volga city between Moscow and Ural Mountains. It takes one hour to fly from Moscow
to Kazan. Both Vladimir Lenin and Leo Tolstoy spent their times at Kazan State University.
Lenin could was expelled from the University because he was only interested in a Marxist
revolution. Tolstoy was interested only in girls and dancing. He was also expelled.
- Another View of the Concert Hall.
- In November of 2010, I was inside
the Concert Hall, and took this photo before the performance of the Kazan Symphony Orchestra.
- World War II Veteran. In addition to
music, I enjoy meeting interesting people. This elderly man fought at the battle
of Kursk during the war, where the bitterest tank battle took place. I asked him
whether he was in a T-34 tank. He said No. He was shooting his
> Shpagin (short
hand-held) machine gun while running around between the tanks. He is so proud
of the medals he earned that he is carrying
the medal certificates, and showed them to me. You will be interested
to hear that I know how to operate this machine gun.
- The Battle Scene like this he had gone through.
- Click here for a detailed story of this crucial WWII battle.
- The Opera House is also in the
same area. I was inside this opera house in 1999 for Profiling's Romeo and Juliet.
- Ministry of Culture is among the
music and government buildings in the same area.
- Violin Solo at the opening session of the Bashkov Conference (1999).
- String Quartet at the opening ceremony of the Petrov Centennial Conference (2010).
- Singing Priests at the banquet held during the Petrov Conference.
- Ministry of Culture is among the music and government buildings in the same area.
Beautiful Places in Kazan
- Masha. When I visited
Kazan to attend the 4th Int'l Conference on Geometrization
of Physics in October of 1999, the chairman of the organizing committee
assigned his daughter as my guide. She is witty, stylish, and always
told me the stories I like to hear. I was able to make up stories to
make her happy. I have some photos.
- with her children.
- at the Volga beach with Volga Shoes. This photo was taken by her mother.
- Two romantic cats. We were admiring them.
- At the Conference Banquet, she was sitting next to me. I look better with her on my side.
- Her mother in 2010. Eleven years after 1999, I visited Kazan again. I was very happy to have this photo.
- Bauman Street is
a pedestrian street with many interesting shops.
You can meet many interesting people.
- McDonald's is a popular spot for young people.
- Teenager Girls looking for fun.
- Samsung Telephone Store. When I left Korea in 1954, Samsung was an obscure candy company.
- Boston Store sells expensive shoes.
- This Souvenir Store sells Moslem items. Here is my photo with the shop keepers.
- Beautiful Street Cars
connecting the residential areas with business centers.
- New Apartment Buildings. This photo was taken in 1999. There must be more construction activities these day.
- Two Young Boys at the play ground of a residential complex.
- Two Sisters from Tashkent.
Tashkent is the capital city of Uzbeckistan, which used to be one of
the Soviet Republics in the past. There are many people from Tashkent
throughout Russia. This frame contains two photos taken in Kazan (1999).
- House wives spending
their afternoon hours together. I was a total stranger to them, but they
reacted like like old classmates. They did not know I was doing a
systematic research on how to talk to Russian women.
- High School Students
looking for troubles. I was able to exchange fun stories with them.
- My portrait. While I was presenting a talk at the conference, a Russian lady in the audience constructed my portrait. How do I look?
- Traditional Market Place
dating back to the 12th Century.
- Raifa Monastery is about 12
kilometers from Kazan's Kremlin. This monastery was constructed
in 1615 after Kazan was annexed to Russia, but was closed during the
- Close-up view of the Bell Tower.
- Three Bears representing Russians.
- Main Church Building.
- Inside the Church. It is an Russian orthodox church.
- One of the smaller church buildings.
- One of the New Buildings for residence halls for priests.
- In November of 2010, I went to Kazan again to attend another conference. During
the decade from 2001 to 2010, the city has been becoming capitalistic. The
most undesirable aspect was its traffic jam. Kanzan's road system was not built
for so many cars. Otherwise, people seem to enjoy their freedom and seem to
be very happy.
- A Beautiful Set of Mother and
Daughter. I walked into Kazan's town hall to see what was
happening there. There was a wedding reception, and many teenager boys
and girls came in their formal dresses. I spotted there a mother with
he teenager daughter, and asked them whether I can have a photo with them.
- Photo without Mom. Then the girl pushed away her mother, and wanted to have a photo with me alone. Her mother happliy stayed away. Beautiful people with beautiful hearts.
- This is Kazan's Town Hall.
- I spotted these two girls
in the lobby of Kazan's concert hall. They agreed to be photographed, and then
invited me to have a photo together.
- My photo with them. How do I look.
- Kazan's Concert Hall. Everywhere in Russia, Russians believe in music.
- Receptionist at a Chinese restaurant in Kazan.
This Russian lady was wearing a Chinese dress. How about food? Russians do
know how to prepare Chinese dishes, yet. Russian-Chinese food? Quite
- Hotel Giuseppe is an
Italian-style hotel. I stayed there for five days in November of 2010.
This building used to be an apartment building during the communist era,
but an Italian businessman took over in 2000, converted into a stylish
- Hotel Reception Desk with Greek-style human pillars.
- While waiting for my turn to check-in, sitting next to me was a Russian lady who came to Kazan to a job interview. She is an economist who can speak fluent English. Kazan is becoming an international city.
- Giussepe is the owner of the hotel. We had this photo at the hotel restaurant with the hotel workers. He came from Milan in 2000 and transformed a communist-era apartment building into a stylish hotel.
- Italian-Style Hallway.
- One of the many Italian Pictures on the wall.
- Breakfast Room is is a very pleasant place to meet people and talk. Many vacationers come to this hotel from European countries.
- Attendants are all intelligent-looking in their neo-Russian costumes.
Kazan is a city of opportunity.
Giuseepe came from Milan, but his wife is a Russian lady from Kazan.
He saw an opportunity in Kazan, and is running a great hotel-tourist
- S7 Siberian Airlines
from Moscow to Kazan. It takes only one hour and 15 minutes.
- Young Russian Lady looking for an opportunity. While waiting for my turn to check-in at Giuseppe's hotel, sitting next to me was a Russian lady who came to Kazan to a job interview. She is an economist who can speak fluent English. A very intelligent lady, indeed.
- Taxi Driver who took me and
my wife to the Airport at the end of our stay in Kazan.
- S7 Siberian Airlines from Moscow to Kazan. It takes only one hour and 15 minutes.
Volga Festival 2001From June 22 to July 3, 2001, there was a physics conference entitled "Volga XIII: Recent Problems in Physics" held at a camp called "Volga" about 30 km south from Kazan (Russia). This camp is of course located along the Volga River. The life style there is somewhat different from what I am accustomed to in the United States.
- Wooded Area. Throughout the
conference, we stayed at wooden bungalows. It was somewhat inconvenient,
but we were happy to be so close to the nature.
- One Serious Problem was the lack of good places to eat. I solved this problem by establishing a special relation with the person in charge of the camp cafeteria.
- Camp Security Officers. The They are professionals. They showed me how they could throw a dagger and hit the target.
- Industry along the River. The
Volga has been the main commercial route connection the Russian mainland
and Caspian Sea. There are thus many industrial plants along this river.
The Volga River has been and will be Russia's economic lifeline.
In 1999, Russia's economy was not in good shape. Many Russians were
concerned about the lack of traffic along the River.
- Minerals produced in this area are being shipped to other places.
- Bridge across the River. There must be bridges, and they should be high enough to allow ships to navigate.
- In this photo,
a Russian girl is reading a book on a paddle boat parked on
the Volga beach near Kazan (Russia). She was 15 years old. I boarded her boat
and asked her what she was reading. She said "War and Peace" by Tolstoy.
I asked her whether she read "Anna Karenina," and she said it is her next
book to read. We talked about Tolstoy and other Russian writers. To me,
it was just like talking with a Korean girl.
- She was tall. She was only 15 years old, but her level of abstraction was high enough to see the point Tolstoy made in his "War and Peace": In a war, the victors are those who save their lives.
- Much taller than I am. With her, I acted like a high school boy.
- River Cruise. With two
students on a cruise ship along the Volga River. The Russian flag is
in the background (2001).
- with another group of students. I look OK with them.
- Rivers force us to think. This young lady is thinking.
- In good terms with the appropriate
person. I enjoy eating, but there are not many good places
to eat at an isolated place like the Volga camp. How do I solve this
problem? Answer: maintain a good relation with the master cook of the
- Two Russian Sisters.
When I was attending a conference at the Volga beach near Kazan in 2000,
they always stayed close to me. I asked them why they like a man as old
as their grandfather. They said I am like their elder brother. They knew
what I like to hear. They seem to be interested in how I made out
in the United States after coming from Korea when I was as young as
they are now.
- Proud Mother. I knew
Russians like American candies. I brought with me bags of party-sized
(2cm-by-2cm) Snickers chocolates. The local organizers distributed them
at the conference banquet. Those Snickers came from the "heaven" to a
Russian boy at candy-loving age. He was four yeas old. He went to the
microphone and made an eloquent speech
thanking "Professor Kim" for bringing those candies. After the speech, I
went to him to take a picture. He was afraid of me, but his mother was mighty
proud. When I was a small boy, I had several occasions to make my mother
- Neptune. Rivers
and seas are very important to humans, and we have a tendency to
believe that there are underwater gods who dictate our fate. For
this reason, we often perform rituals to please those underwater
gods, sometimes by donating attractive girls. The Volga River is
very important to Russians. In a small city near Kazan, this ritual
was produced by Russian students attending a physics conference
there, and I was fortunate enough to be a participant.
- I love New York. I brought
twelve "I love New York" shirts when I went there, and gave away randomly.
I bought them in New York for $2.00 each. One of the boys asked me whether
he could have one, and I said Yes. He was able to attract girls like
- Student from ITEP (Moscow). This student liked the "I love New York" shirt which I gave to her. I gave her another one for her boy friend, who was not able to come because he has to prepare for an important examination during the summer in his hometown, Novosibirsk in Siberia. She was indeed a cheerful lady. I asked her why she was not wearing her shoes. She said she has beautiful feet . Here is Another Photo with this her during a Volga boat trip.
- This Student from Ukraine was also wearing the shirt.
- This Russian Physicist spent several years in the United States, and it was a familar sign for Yet, it was her first time to wear this shirt.
- From these photos from Kazan, you can see why Leo Tolstoy was only
interested in girls and dancing while he was a student at Kazan State
University. Yet, he used his Kazan resources very effectively to
become one of the greatest writers in history.
You do not have to read Tolstoy's novels. Jusk look at the photos on this page. It takes much less time.
Leo Tolstoy was born in 1826 at a small town called Yasnaya Polyayana about 200 km south of Moscow, but his parents died when Tolstoy was very young. He was raised by his uncle who was a high-ranking public official in the city of Kazan, and he entered Kazan State University.
However, Tolstoy was only interested in girls and dancing, and he was expelled from the University. He then returned to his hometown of Yasnaya Polyana and started writing novels. He wrote his "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina" while he was young.
- I assume his War and Peace was based on the stories about his parents he
heard from his relatives in Kazan. His father fought against Napoleon's
army in 1812. It appears that her mother had two lovers (best and second
best) before the war, and her best lover died in the war. That is why
she had to marry the survivor (second best), who became was Tolstoy's father.
- It is quite possible that Tolstoy had a non-trivial affair with a
married woman while in Kazan. This could be the basis for his Anna
- copyright@2010,2015 by Y. S. Kim, unless otherwise specified.
- Click here for his home page.
- Style page.
- Einstein page.
- Princeton page.