Bolgar State Historical and Architectural Reserve
Bolgar State Historical and Archaeological Reserve is located in the Republic of Tatarstan 130 kilometres to the south of Kazan on the Volga riverbank at the site of a once wealthy and powerful capital of Volga Bolgaria - Bolgar Town.
The Reserve is a historical and cultural heritage site of federal significance and an especially valuable cultural heritage site of the Tatarstan Republic.
In 2014 Bolgar Historical and Architectural Complex was included in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.
For visitors it represents the only Russian reserve featuring the history of Islam in the Russian Federation and Muslim culture as part of Russian civilization.
Here, a genuine intersection of contact areas, civilizations and cultures has established, where the interaction of Turkic Islam and Slavic Christian worlds, together with Finno-Ugric peoples, played a key part in the origination of customs and traditions of other peoples of the Eurasian continent.
Its consolidating origins were statesmanship, social and economic relations, including developed Trans-Eurasian trade, ideology and unique symbiosis of urban and nomadic, forest and steppe cultures, unity of symbols, norms and images, as well as tolerant coexistence of various peoples and religions in a multicultural society.
Since the times of Kazan Khanate Bolgar has maintained its rightful place as a cultural centre, center for worship of ancient buildings, which were considered monuments of Islam and Bolgar statesmanship in Bolgar-Tatar oral tradition.
In 1998 Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex was included in the Russian Federation Preliminary List of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage. On June 23, 2014 at the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee a decision was made on the inclusion of Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex in UNESCO World Heritage List.
The territory of Bolgar Reserve features architectural monuments of the 12th–14th centuries representing practically all types of social and residential buildings of medieval Muslim architecture. The main museum exhibition has been established, revealing all essential points in the history and development of Bolgar-Tatar civilization and the ancient town. Several museum exhibitions have been created within the Reserve as well as outside of its territory, revealing significant aspects of medieval and modern history, as well as the diversity of heritage pertaining to the ancient site.
The Bolgar Complex not only preserves, but also expresses the extensive process of geopolitical and historical transformations that took place in Eurasia in 10th – early 21st centuries, formulating the very essence of national local character of an interregional cultural centre, representing an integral part of the contemporary life of Tatarstan and the Russian Federation, and characterizing its Outstanding Universal Value. Bolgar historical, archaeological and architectural heritage, established collective memory of the ancestors of contemporary Tatar people – second most populous in the Russian Federation, sanctity and successive development of Muslim and Orthodox cultures are unique and exceptionally valuable as a unified cultural phenomenon openly displayed to thousands of tourists worldwide and a future site for international cooperation.