Bolgary


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Bolgary

 

(in Russian, Bolgar, Bulgar, or Bolgary Velikie), the capital of the medieval state of Bolgariia Volga-Kama. The ruins of medieval Bolgary are near the village of Bolgary in Kuibyshev Raion of the Tatar ASSR. The excavations on the site of the ancient town began in 1870 and were conducted on a very large scale from 1950 to 1957 under the direction of A. P. Smirnov. The earliest settlement on the site of Bolgary dates to the second half of the first millennium A.b.; the city is known from Eastern written sources of the tenth century. In the second half of the 13th century, Bolgary became the most important trade and craft center of the Golden Horde. In layers of the 13th and 14th centuries, the remains of houses, baths, potters’ and metallurgists’ furnaces, and sewer constructions have been found. Many work tools, household articles, and ornaments have also been found, including articles brought from Middle Asia, the Crimea, Transcaucasia, Rus’, and China. Traces of Russian and Armenian colonies have been discovered. A number of stone structures of the 13th and 14th centuries have been preserved: The Little Minaret, the Black Hall, the Khan’s Tomb mausoleum, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Monastery Cellar, the ruins of the Rectangular Mosque, the summer residence of the Bulgarian khans (known as the Little Town), and the baths. In 1361, Bolgary was destroyed by the Golden Horde khan Bulak-Timur. The final devastation of the city began at the beginning of the 15th century.

REFERENCES

Shpilevskii, S. M. Drevnie goroda i drugie bulgarskotatarskie pamiatniki v kazanskoi gubernii. Kazan, 1877.
Smirnov, A. P. Volzhskie Bulgary. Moscow, 1951.
Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, nos. 42, 61, 80, 111. Moscow, 1954–62.

G. A. FEDOROV-DAVYDOV

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