A rare Tatar publication with an illustrated text on the ruins of the ancient city Bolghar, the capital of Volga Bulgaria from the 8th until 15th century, was printed in Kazan in 1908.
Bolghar is situated south of Kazan. Once a rich city with impressive buildings was ransacked in 1431. During the Soviet times it was known as a pilgrimage place for the Muslims from the Soviet Union, as they can not make the Hajj to Mecca. Today the buildings are protected by UNESCO.
The text was originally published in English, as a part of an important book Kazan, the Ancient Capital of the Tartar Khans (1854) by Edward Tracy Turnerelli (1813-1896), who travelled to Saint Petersburg as a teacher and worked as an English lecturer in Kazan.
The chapter on Bolghar was translated to Russian and issued under a title Развалините на Болгар и древните българи. This Russian version served Nadžib Halfin, an author and politician from Kazan, to publish his Tatar version of the book with a possible goal to strengthen the identity of the locals and awareness of the presence of Tatars in the region through historical evidence.
In 1918, Halfin was on the committee to proclaim the independence Idel-Ural State also known as a Volga-Ural State, a short-lived independent state of Turkic peoples and Volga Germans. The Bolsheviks suppressed the state and annexed Kazan to the Soviet Union.
The work is very rare. We could not find any institutional examples on Worldcat.
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