Raifa Bogoroditsky Monastery, Russia

According to Behealthybytomorrow.com, the main cultural attraction of the Volga-Kama Reserve is the male Raifa Bogoroditsky Monastery, which stands on the shores of Raifa Lake. The monastery was founded in 1613 by Filaret, a monk of the Kazan Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery. Gradually, other monks began to arrive here, and in the middle of the 17th century several cells united into deserts. The first building appeared here in 1662. It was a wooden church, consecrated in the name of Saint Euthymius of Novgorod. A wall with two gates and gate churches was erected around the buildings of the monastery – in the name of the Origin of the Honest Trees of the Life-Giving Cross of the Lord and in honor of the Reverend Fathers in Sinai and Raifa beaten. By the name of the second church got its name and deserts. In 1689, a major fire destroyed all the buildings of the monastery, after which they began to re-erect in stone. This period includes the temple in the name of the Most Holy Theotokos of Georgia, the temple of the Holy Fathers in Sinai and Raifa beaten, the church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the rector’s chambers, monastic cells and a refectory. The monastery was surrounded by strong walls with five towers. By 1739 there were 15 stone churches in the monastery. Almost all of them, along with other buildings of the monastery, were rebuilt due to dilapidation at the end of the 19th century. In 1928 the monastery was closed. The monastery was revived only in 1991. Now the Main Cathedral of the monastery is the Cathedral of the Georgian Icon of the Mother of God of 1842. It contains a copy of the Georgian icon of the Mother of God of the Montenegrin monastery, which was found in the desert at the end of the 17th century. This icon is revered in the Orthodox world, so many pilgrims come to the desert every year to bow to her. For this, the monastery works hotel. In addition to the cathedral, on the territory of the monastery you can see the monastery walls with three towers, the gate church of the Archangel Michael, the bell tower, the fraternal buildings with the church of Faith, Hope, Love and their mother Sophia and the Church of the Holy Fathers in Sinai and Raifa beaten, the refectory and the latest building of the monastery – richly decorated Trinity Cathedral of 1910.

The main archaeological area of the Republic of Tatarstan, revealing the ancient history and culture of the region, is the city of Bolgar. It is located 140 km south of Kazan on the left bank of the Kuibyshev reservoir. Settlements on the site of the modern city existed in the Stone Age. Starting from the 8th century, the capital of the Volga Bulgaria was located here. However, the first annalistic references to the capital date back to 922. Around the same time, the Volga Bulgars converted to Islam and began to unite. By the end of the 10th century, Bolgar was a major trading center that connected the states of East and West. In the period from the end of the 10th to the beginning of the 13th centuries, the capital of the Volga Bulgaria was not in Bolgar, but in neighboring Bilyar. Bolgar again became the capital after the devastation of Bilyar by the Tatar-Mongols. In 1236, the Bolgars were captured and burned by the troops of Batu, in 1361 – by the troops of one of the khans of the Golden Horde, and in 1431 – by the troops of Moscow Prince Vasily II. Since the 15th century, Bolgar became part of the Russian state.

In 1722, Peter I visited the legendary place and issued a decree on the protection of its monuments (this was the first decree of this kind in Russia). In 1781, just north of the ruins of the ancient city of Bolgar, the village of Chertykovo was founded, later it was given the status of a city, which became known as Spassk. In the period from 1926 to 1935 the city was called Spassk-Tatarsky, and from 1935 to 1991 – Kuibyshev. In 1991 the city received the historical name Bolgar. The territory of the Bolgar settlement in 1969 it was declared a historical and architectural museum-reserve. It is located south of the city of Bolgar and covers an area of 550 hectares, where architectural monuments of the 13th-14th centuries have been preserved. Local chambers, mausoleums and minarets are revered Islamic shrines and almost the only monuments of the Golden Horde times.

In June, pilgrims from all over the country and neighboring countries arrive in Bolgar, at this time the anniversary of the adoption of Islam by the Tatars is celebrated. Around the settlement, you can see the remains of a rampart and a moat with a total length of 5630 meters. In the center of the settlement are the remains of the Cathedral Mosque, which was built in the second half of the 13th century after the invasion of Batu. Fragments of walls and combat towers of a semicircular shape have been preserved from it. In the 90s of the 20th century, the Great Minaret of the Cathedral Mosque, 32 meters high, was reconstructed. The ancient minaret of the 13th century was destroyed in 1841. Inside it is a spiral staircase. Tradition says that if you climb to the very top of the minaret, then as many sins will be forgiven as there are steps in the stairs. Near the mosque is the Northern Mausoleum – a symbol of the entire Bulgarian settlement. This small building with a spherical dome made of large stones was erected in the 14th century. Inside the mausoleum are collected tombstones from the cemeteries of Tatarstan. Several plates have preserved inscriptions made in Turkic runic writing, which allows them to be attributed to the beginning of the 9th century. Also of interest is the Eastern Mausoleum of the 14th century, which has six sides and is topped with a pointed tent resembling a helmet. Not far from the Cathedral Mosque rises the Assumption Church of the 18th century, made in the Russian Baroque style. It is believed that it was erected on the site of the Khan’s Palace. There are plates with ancient inscriptions in the wall of the church, and inside there is an archaeological museum, where archaeological finds from Bolgar are exhibited. A little south of the Assumption Church is the Black Chamber. It is a cuboid structure with a semicircular dome and reliefs on the blackened walls. Presumably, the khan’s court was once located here. In the 18th century, a smokehouse was located in the Black Chamber, which is why the walls were covered with ashes and turned black, hence its name. Also, the remains of the foundation of the White Chamber of the 14th century, which housed a public bath, have survived to this day. An ancient cemetery has been preserved on the territory of the museum-reserve. The complex of its buildings includes the Small Minaret of the second half of the 14th century, 12 meters high, built in the image of the Big Minaret, and the Khan’s Tomb. Inside the Small Minaret there is also a spiral staircase with high steps. The Khan’s tomb is made in the form of a domed mausoleum. Other archaeological sites of the Bolgar settlement include the Armenian settlement with the Greek church, the Southern town, the well of Gabdrakhman and the Suvar settlement. In the summer from Kazan to Bolgar along the Volga go tourist boats and meteors.

About 100 km east of Bolgar is the village of Bilyarsk, on the site of which in ancient times the site of ancient settlement Bilyar was located, where in the 10th century the capital of Volga Bulgaria was moved from Bolgar. Bilyar was the main city of the state for almost three centuries until it was completely destroyed by the Tatar-Mongols. At one time it was one of the largest cities in Eastern Europe. The remains of the Bilyar settlement have survived to this day. The complex of Bilyar ruins covers an area of ​​620 hectares. Around it, earthen fortifications in the form of ramparts and ditches with a length of 11 km are visible. Inside the fortifications, the remains of the palace mosque and the ruins of more than 30 buildings have been preserved. The Bilyar settlement is part of Bilyar State Historical-Archaeological and Natural Museum-Reserve. The museum was established in 1992. On its territory with an area of ​​2378 hectares, in addition to the ancient settlement, there is the “Holy Key” tract with a pagan sanctuary of the 9th-10th centuries, the ancient settlement of the 13th-16th centuries on Balynguz Mountain with the remains of defensive fortifications, the Bolshe-Tigansky burial ground, which remained from the ancient Hungarian tribes of the 7th-9th centuries, and house-museum of chemist E.A. Arbuzov.

Raifa Bogoroditsky Monastery, Russia

Raifa Bogoroditsky Monastery, Russia
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