Tatarstan is a nation within a nation, the Tartars, Russia's largest minority group. Though it is west of the Urals, the Asian faces missing from Yekaterinburg are present in numbers on the streets of Kazan. Mosques stud the skyline, and the call to prayer is heard on the evening breezes. But here, Islam and Orthodox Christianity have co-existed for centuries. The Sunni Muslim Volga Bulgars have mixed with the Mongol Golden Horde, who themselves have mixed with the Ivan the Terrible's Russian invaders. A crossroads of history, and a beautiful, wealthy city. You have to love a place whose symbolic animal is a dragon that looks like a chicken.