One of Russia's largest cities and the capital city of Tatarstan, modern day Kazan is a very large industrial, commerical and cultural center in Russia. It is also the most important center of Tatar culture. Originally founded by the Volga Bulgars, the city went from strength to strength first as a border post, then as a trade center. It was a good place which shield refugees from mongolia and was known for it's trade in furniture. Later, it was forcibly taken by Russia and it was at this stage that a lot of the Tatar residents were killed, repressed or christianized. Places of traditional worship were ruined and the original Tatar population was forced to settle outside the city.