Kazan, Russia - First Sister City of Bryan-College Station
Celebrating Tatarstan's Anniversary
In August, 1998 the Kazan city government invited Bryan and College Station to send representatives to join them in celebrating the anniversary of Tatarstan's Declaration of Sovereignty. On August 27,1998, Dr. Morris Gelber, acting as a representative of the Bryan-College Station Sister Cities Association, departed for a 12-day trip to Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia.
Morris reports that he was met in Moscow by Alexander (Sasha) Kasatkin and Ilia Gershikov. Morris and Sasha traveled from Moscow to Kazan on the overnight train Krasnoyarsk, arriving in Kazan on Saturday, August 29. On the next day Morris and his hosts, the Kasatkins, visited Baumann Street, the main commercial street in Kazan. It is now closed to traffic and made a perfect setting for the festivities that were taking place.
Kazan really looks quite nice with much new building and renovation taking place. Sunday evening, Morris and his hosts attended the culmination celebration at the Stadium. There they enjoyed folk songs and dancing and Mayor Ishkakov's greeting to the people. Later in the week, Morris visited Vice-Mayor Andreevna at the mayor's office. Gifts were exchanged and agreements were made regarding future visits.
During the week, Morris visited School #18, one of our sister schools, from which have come many of our high school visitors. Since it was the first day of school, a nice program was held in the commons area and Morris was asked to say a few words, which he did - both in English and in Russian. Then he visited many classrooms and spoke with students of every grade. Other sites that Morris visited included the new Concert Hall, which is quite beautiful, and the Chamber of Commerce. He met with the directors of both organizations and discussed the possibilities of cooperation between those groups and their counterparts here in Bryan-College Station.
One of the highlights of the trip for Morris, was a gathering of students and teachers who have visited Bryan-College Station. So many of the students told him how much their visit to our cities had changed their lives. Morris returned to Moscow Monday morning, September 7, accompanied by Azaliya Urazmetova, the teacher who had spend nine months as an exchange teacher in Bryan, and flew out of Moscow very early on Tuesday morning.
It was a wonderful trip for Morris, and he would like to thank the Association for making it possible.