Bolgar is a Unesco World Heritage site. It is situated some 130 km south of Kazan on the Volga. It was the capital of the ancient kindgom of Volga Bulgaria – which lasted from the 8th to the 15th centuries. Most of the buildings visible today are reconstructions of ruins dating from the later period – after the Mongol conquest, that is the 14th to 15th centuries.

The people who settled in this region came from the Azov region, (near the Black Sea). Some settled here and some continued into Bulgaria proper. The Kingdom of Volga Bulgaria was subject to the Khazarian Empire until the mid 10th century. The Khazarian Empire was to the West of Volga Bulgaria. In the 13th century Volga Bulgaria was conquered by the Mongols and became part of the Golden Horde. By the early 15th century the Golden Horde had broken up into several principalities. At this time Volga Bulgaria became under the control of the Khanate of Kazan. The Khanate of Kazan was conquered for Russia by Ivan the Terrible in 1552.

The small minaret (slide 3) is one of the best preserved, and therefore least re-constructed, buildings on the site.

The Black Chamber (slide 4) is a second well-preserved building. The central room (viewed internally) is nearly original. The building was errected in the mid 14th century. The actual purpose of the building is not known. It may have been a “court, madrasa, or hospitage”. The building style is close to similar buildings in Central Asia.

The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (slide 5) was built in 1732-1734 with funds donated by a wealthy Kazan merchant.


WikiPedia – Bolgar

WikiPedia – History of Volga Bulgaria


Ministry of Culture of the The Republic of Tartestan

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