A one-day excursion to Bolgar - one of the oldest settlements in Tatarstan. Bolgar was once the capital of one of the earliest states in Eastern Europe and is one of three UNESCO sites in Tatarstan.
On this trip to Bolgar you will learn about its history, which can be traced back to the beginning of the 10th century, when it found itself in a strategic location on important trade routes used by traders from Rus, Central Asia, Iran, Byzantium and China. In 922 an embassy arrived here from Baghdad and the locals adopted Islam, and you will see the most northern Islamic architecture anywhere in the world, consisting of unique examples of 13th and 14th century Bolgar-Tatar architecture.
In 1236 the site was sacked by the Mongols but then became a major economic centre of the Golden Horde in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the second half the 14th century the city was sack once more, this time by Tamerlane, and then a century later the Russians attacked, leaving the city in ruins in 1431. This time the city did not fully recover and Kazan became the regional centre, with Bolgar becoming just a settlement.
In June Bolgar becomes a place of pilgrimage for Muslims who come here to mark the anniversary of the Tatars adopting Islam.
Kazan → Bolgary→ Kazan
Total distance of the tour: - 390km
• 08:00 •
Meeting with your guide. Transfer to Bolgary.
• 11:00 •
Arrival in Bolgar. Excursion around the architectural complex. The highlights of the tour include:
- Congregational Mosque - this mosque was built in the 13th century, after the Mongol invasion, it is the main religious structure of the Bolgar Ulus (district) of the Golden Horde.
- Large Minaret - the minaret of the Congregational Mosque was built over the entrance into the mosque. However in 1814 it collapsed and was only restored in 2000.
- Northern and Eastern Mausoleums - these 14th century monuments, in their architectural style, relate to traditional Muslim tent-done tombs. The eastern mausoleum is the best preserved example of Bulgar architecture.
- Eastern Chamber (Khan’s Banya) - this 13th century structure is one of the oldest stone buildings on the site. It is located close to the centre of the old city next to where the Khan’s Palace stood.
- Small Minaret and Khan’s Tomb - this 14th century structure is located outside the pre-mongol era city, which rose up following the invasion. The tomb was used for nobles of the city.
- White Chamber (Banya) - this 14th century banya has an underfloor heating system, water system and drainage like that of the Eastern Chamber. It got it water supply from three wells located next to the building.
- Black Chamber - experts argue about the use of this 14th century building, some believe it was a tomb, others a mosque and madrassa, while a third option is that it served as a court building.
- Ak (White) Mosque - Although not an ancient building, this mosque represents one of the architectural highlights of Bolgar. It is the largest mosque in the south-west of Tatarstan and includes minarets, a room for worship and 88 columns. It was officially opened on 10 June 2012 when it became Bolgar’s new congregational mosque.
- Adoption of Islam Monument - this monument which resembles a mosque, was erected to mark the Volga Bulgars’ conversion to Islam. The building holds inside the world’s largest Quran, weighing half a tonne. When closed it measures two metres by one and a half metres. Its cover is made out of malachite fabric and features patterns made out of silver and covered with a layer of gold, while its binding is leather.
Duration: 3 hours | Transportation: walking tour
After the tour you will have free time for lunch and a walk around.
• 16:00 •
Transfer back to Kazan.
• 19:00 •
Arrival in Kazan.
- The tour is available the whole year round starting on any day, but please take into account that the museum’s working hours and days-off vary so we reserve the right to change the itinerary while trying to save the excursion programme.
- Optional excursions should be booked before the start of the tour.
- Some religious sights such as active monasteries require a specific dress code in order to be allowed to visit - for women a scarf to cover your head and a skirt covering your knees (no trousers); for men no shorts and all headwear must be removed.
• CANCELLATION POLICY •
DATE OF CANCELLATION
(with respect to the date of the departure)
(with respect to the total price of the tour)
|FROM 60 TO 45 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||10%|
|FROM 44 TO 15 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||30%|
|FROM 14 TO 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||50%|
|LESS THAN 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||100%|