Everybody who plans to visit Tatarstan should make some study of the region’s features, and useful tips from locals collected. Though it is a part of the Russian Federation, there might be some local differences found. Here are some most useful tips for tourists and visitors.
Routes for foreigners
In Tatarstan, many travel agencies have special routes for foreign tourists and visitors. Such routes are planned from meeting at the airport or railway station to arranging accommodations, travelling around, interpreting, helping with money exchange and shopping. Travel information, like travel brochures, maps, etc. can be found at many travel agencies.
There are foreign exchange offices in all the republic’s cities, usually centres and banks. In Kazan, for instance, money can be exchanged at the railway station, at the airport and in many shops. Visa, Master Card, Eurocard, STB, Card/Cirrus/Maestro, and American Express can be used. There are state and commercial banks in the republic, where tourists can use all bank services. An important fact should be mentioned: legally only Russian roubles can be used for all financial operations.
A very high telephone line capacity, radio relay channels, and a broad band of television channels supply all territory of the Republic of Tatarstan. Recently an international satellite communication station has been established in Kazan. Responsibility for state television and radio broadcasting has been given to the Tatarstan TV and Radio Company. It gives access to practically every country in the world. A network of cell telephones is developing, and many providers such as MTS, Bee-Line, Tatincom, Santel and others are working with foreign communication companies. The network of the Internet cafes is extending.
Post offices are open every working day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Saturdays, opening time can be shorter, on Sundays – closed. At a post office, people buy the usual envelopes and stamps, zhetons (tokens) for payphones, and also post correspondence. The international express courier service DHL has offices almost in every city of the republic.
Shop infrastructure in the republic is various. There are shops selling food (grocery stores), department stores, modern supermarkets, boutiques, etc. Goods have high production quality, and available prices, and some of them are imported. Souvenirs and handicraft products are available at many places. Another interesting feature of shopping in Tatarstan is local markets, which are working every day and all year round. Visitors can buy everything there – from food to paintings. It is a sort of a combination of all kinds of stores and shops. And, of course, it is a unique opportunity to meet local culture and traditions in action.
Food service facilities
The eating services offer a big choice. During the last decade infrastructure of restaurants, cafes and bars has been developing. Therefore everywhere visitors can find places according to their demand: a small cosy cafe, or a luxury restaurant, or something special like national cuisine. So-called “Houses of National Cuisine” can be found in many cities of Tatarstan. Big diversity of national meals can surprise even experienced gourmet.
Such personal services as hairdressers and barbers, beauticians, dry-cleaning, laundry, or shoe repair services are usually located in a service centre and are present in any town and city or village. Also, a visitor can use services of sophisticated and modern techniques at private beauty centres.
The entertainment industry is highly developed. Big cinemas, bowling, dancing and entertaining centres are spread out along the republic.
Public security is provided by the state (the Russian Federation) service called “policia” (police), and the emergency telephone access is “02”.
Medical services have a very high level, and in case of emergency there is a high-developed first-aid hospital service, which is free of charge, fast access telephone is “03”.
Fire protection is a concern of the special state service “pozharnaya chast’” (fire department), and its emergency telephone access is “01”.