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Bolgar is a now decayed city but extremely interesting to understand the evolution of Russia from Turkish to Slav
The words of Ibn Battuta
“Having heard of the city of Bulghar, which was only ten days’ walk from the sultan’s camp, I wanted to go and see [if it was true] what was said about the extreme brevity of the night – or of the day, in the opposite season. “Ibn Battuta
Bolgar, capital of Volga Bulgaria
In the territories of today’s Bolgar, remains have been found that date back to the Neolithic age, however the first culture capable of leaving a stable impact will be that of Imenkovsk, later conquered by the Proto-Bulgarians. These arrived here following the collapse of the second
Here the Bulgarians grew in power, managing in about a century to break free from the Khazar domination and starting to assert their power over the region. In 922 Almış, the Bulgarian ruler, converted to Islam, immediately finding a valid ally in Baghdad who, not surprisingly, sent him Ibn Fadlan, then an expert in Islamic law who later became famous for his trip. It should be noted that this event will anticipate the Christianization of the
The Golden Horde, Berke and the decline
Already starting from the 11th century, Bolgar will suffer several raids by the Rus, so much so that the Bulgarians will move their capital to nearby Bilär. The biggest enemy, however, will always be the Mongols who will arrive here in 1223. Even if the Bulgarians won the first battle, this will not be enough to stop the army of
Things will be minimally reversed by the conversion to Islam of Berke, grandson of Genghis Khan and, from 1257 to 1266, lord of the Golden Horde. The latter is known above all for having blocked the Ilkhanids from their destructive intentions, however thanks to his influence, Bolgar will still see his decline slow down, so much so that he even witnesses the construction of several palaces. The subsequent meeting with Tamerlane and with the Volga princes will however mark its end, so much so that in 1431 the voivode of Vasily II, Fyodor Paletsky, will definitively raze it to the ground.
With the conquest of the Kazan Khanate in 1552, the area on which Bolgar once stood passed definitively into Russian hands, remaining for a long time a devastated place but extremely rich in memory; in fact, it is said that both Tsar Peter the Great and Catherine the Great went here to observe the ruins and reflect.
In 1781 the city of Spassk was founded here, renamed Kuybyshev during the Soviet period; it should be noted that, in that historical moment, the Tatars, given the impossibility of going to Mecca, made a small pilgrimage here. the city has recovered its ancient name. Today it has fewer than 9,000 inhabitants.
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