The ancient city of Bolgar is located on the left bank of the Volga River, at the distance of 140 kilometers from Kazan, in the vicinity of the modern town of Bolgar, which is now the administrative center of the Spassky municipal district. The area of the site is 550 hectares and the length of its fortifications is 5.63 km.
A holy shrine and ancestral homeland of Volga Tatars, known in the Muslim world as “Mecca of the North”, lies within two hours’ drive from Kazan. The unique restored monument of the Cathedral Mosque keeps its secrets and legends. Next to the Mosque is the Big Minaret, where it is believed that if a person ascends by its stairs, he receives forgiveness for one of his sins for every step.
Other objects open for visiting include the unique Museum of the Bolgar Civilization with the local river boat station in the same building, the memorial in honor of the conversion of the Volga Bulgarians to Islam in 922 and an exhibition of paintings about Ancient Bolgar. The particularly popular places are the Khan Palace, the Healer’s House and trade shops, as well as the White Mosque and the Bread Museum, both located behind the Southern gate. Archeologists have found about 100 stone buildings on the territory of the ancient city site. Unfortunately, with most of these buildings only their basements survived.
Celebrations in honor of the Volga Bulgaria accepting Islam take place in Bolgar once a year – these events attract thousands of Muslims from all over Russia and from abroad. Another annual event is a colorful festival named the Great Bolgar.
In the Bolgar lands there is a place of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians, too. It is the temple of the martyr and saint Abraham of Bulgaria, where the refreshment, translucence, savor and myrrh-streaming of icons have been seen.