The Great Bolgar is located on the left bank of the Volga 140 kilometers from Kazan, near the present-day town of Bolgar. The area of the ancient settlement is 550 hectares, and the length of its fortifications is over five kilometers.
The religious relic and the historical homeland of the Volga Tatars, known in the Muslim world as the «Northern Mecca», is about three hours» drive of Kazan. It is here that one of the tourist gems of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Bulgarian State Historical and Architectural Museum and Heritage Site is located, in 2014 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
On the territory of the Museum and Heritage Site there are monuments of architecture of the 12-13th Centuries: Cathedral Mosque, the Big and Small minarets, the Northern and Eastern mausoleums, the Khan's tomb, the Khan Palace, the Eastern, White and Black Chambers, the «Gabdrakhman's Well» complex and others.
The White Mosque, built on its territory in 2012, is considered to be the architectural landmark of the Great Bolgar. The best pieces of the world Islamic architecture served an example for its construction. The ensemble of the White Mosque includes a prayer square, framed by a refined arcade of 88 oriental columns; refined towers of minarets; the main dome with skilfully made stained-glass windows and snow-white buildings intended for the clergy. The interior decoration is no less inspiring: The hall of prayers is surrounded by high columns with crescents, and on the walls one can see an elegant Arabic script — sayings from the Koran.
The same year, a «Memorial sign in celebration of the adoption of Islam by the Volga Bulgars in 922» appeared on the territory of the museum-reserve. It is a building, in the main hall of which there is the sacred book of Muslims, the world's largest printed Koran, recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. The unique Museum of the Bulgarian civilization, the structure of which is harmoniously integrated into the existing relief of the abrupt coast, combines a river station and a multi-level museum complex, built in the classical oriental style. And an interactive Museum of Bread, where all the cycles of bread production are represented — from sowing and harvesting to grinding and baking. On the territory of the museum one can find the Miller's House, a windmill and a water mill, a smithy, various agricultural instruments and appliances, a restaurant of national Tatar cuisine.
Every year celebrations connected with the adoption of Islam by the Volga Bulgaria take place in the Great Bolgar, when thousands of Muslim pilgrims from Russia and abroad gather here. Every summer a bright and entertaining Festival of Medieval Battle is organized here too, as well as many other exciting and entertaining promenades, holidays and events.
Official tourist Portal of the Republic of Tatarstan / visit-tatarstan.com