Fans enjoy Tatar culture | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 24, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 24, 2018

Fans enjoy Tatar culture

Football fans from around the globe visiting Kazan for the World Cup got a taste of traditional Tatar culture at the Sabantuy Summer festival on Saturday.

The holiday, which celebrates the planting of the crops, has origins going back more than a thousand years and the festival on the outskirts of Kazan attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Traditional singing and dancing, bell ringing, pillow fighting and a game in which blindfolded children attempted to cut hanging fish off string were among the activities.

The showpiece event is a belt-wrestling tournament which once offered the main prize of a sheep but now promises the winner a brand new car.

Among those attending this year were a good number of Colombians in the city to support their team in Sunday's World Cup H fixture against Poland.

"It's so different, our country so different, we are excited and happy to be here," said one yellow-shirted South American visitor.

Kazan, with its sweeping river vistas and historic buildings, has been one of the great beneficiaries of the exposure that the hosting of the World Cup has brought to Russia.

The country's sixth biggest city by population, Kazan is the capital of the Tatar Republic and its inhabitants are fiercely proud of its history and culture.

"I'm really glad because many people arrived from all over the world and our citizens and our guests are becoming friends and they are having fun together," said one local.

There have been other things for tourists to get lost in, with foreign fans splitting their time between watching their favourite sport and immersing themselves in the details of Russia's history.

Pictures on social media showed thousands of people lining up to see the tomb of communist revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin on Moscow's Red Square.

On Friday, when there were no World Cup matches in the city of Samara, Joseph Stalin's bunker hideout proved a popular tourist destination.

The notorious dictator had the hideout constructed in the event of German invasion during World War Two.

Squeezing past each other on the narrow stairways, supporters from Australia -and Uruguay stopped to take pictures of the conference room, Stalin's personal office and other areas adorned with information displays.

Leave your comments