Mintimer Shaimiev: ''I read Realnoe Vremya at night and go to work in the morning. It seems to be possible at the age of 80''

How Tatarstan state adviser sent the council of the Fund on Revival of Monuments… to baths in Bolgar

Ancient historical complexes have being successfully revived in Tatarstan for seven years. Two restored holy sites – Bolgar and Sviyazhsk – became a real all-national project. On 16 March in the Kazan Kremlin, it was told about new achievements of the regional Foundation of Revival of Monuments, and Mintimer Shaimiev admitted he read historical articles of Realnoe Vremya at nights. A story about Turkish bath impressed him so much that the state adviser invited his colleagues to gather in Bolgarian baths next year.

Ancient glass-blowing of Bolgar and Father as guide of Sviyazhsk

The meeting began with observation how landmarks are conserved in Tatarstan. Last year was marked by the renascence of two remarkable buildings — Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan and Bolgarian Islamic Academy.

10 months have passed since a capsule was buried on the cathedral's construction site. During this time, the cathedral has got walls, columns and cupolas. The religious complex is erected on the foundation of a cave temple that miraculously survived an explosion in 1932.

''Our cathedral is unique because it is the only cave temple where the important respected icon was found and the only underground temple in Russia that survived,'' noted executive director of the regional Foundation on Revival of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Tatarstan, deputy chairman of the State Council of Tatarstan Tatiana Larionova.

10 months have passed since a capsule was buried on the cathedral's construction site. During this time, the cathedral has got walls, columns and cupola. Photo: Mikhail Kozlovsky

Bolgarian Islamic Academy, which is the first in Russia, is built. White Mosque will be the most important place of the building. It will have an educational mission. This is why it has a madrasa and mufti's residence. The very academy is a complex of educational and residential buildings consisting of seven blocks. A multifunctional amphitheatre to host many people was created in the centre. A prayer hall of 650 square metres with a transparent cupola was prepared. The Tatarstan president's aide Kamil Iskhakov is selecting the staff. The educational institution is to open on 1 September. Everything is on schedule, without delays.

''The state programme together with the government and budget of Russia in our republic is going on, which is also good. And it allows us to start the last work stage on Bolgar and Sviyazhsk according to the results in 2016 and plans for 2017,'' noted state adviser to Tatarstan, chairman of Renascence fund's board of trustees Mintimer Shaimiev.

Last year archaeologists successfully worked in Bolgar and Sviyazhsk. They continued digs of the city bazar and mansions with glass processing and bronze-casting workshops, which were built during the Golden Horde and Mongolian periods, in the ancient Muslim city. In the island-city, the scientists had a task to fix the ancient fortress of Sviyazhsk built in 1551. And they managed to do it – a line of the fort walls of the mid-16 th century was found in three digs.

Ancient temples and complexes have been arising on the territory of the two reserves from the ruins for several years. Over 50 sites have been restored and built here. Now the Assumption Cathedral is reconstructed. This temple and complex of the Men's Assumption Monastery are candidates for the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. Moscow restorers are repairing the ancient painting on the cathedral's walls.

Tatiana Larionova: ''Authentic details of the 18 th-19th centuries are conserved better than considered in the last years''

''We managed to reveal some fragments that were considered lost. I am talking about the iconostasis. Authentic details of the 18 th-19th centuries are conserved better than considered in the last years,'' says Tatiana Larionova.

Other Orthodox churches of the island are also restored. For instance, masters recreated the facade, white-stone floors, arcs and vaults of Saint Nikolay's Church. An Orthodox museum dedicated to the history of the Christian culture and role of the Assumption Cathedral in distribution of Orthodox in Middle Volga Region will open here. Curiously, very priests will head excursions – it is a novelty in museology of Tatarstan. Restorers have almost completed the restoration of the Sergy's Church and the Church over the Gates. Services in these churches will start this year.

Island-city will get its icons back

UNESCO experts set Tatarstan another goal – to reunite the icons with their historical place. Now the icons are kept in Kazan, at the State Museum of Fine Arts of Tatarstan. This is why the island-city will have another Orthodox, Art and Culture Museum in the historical building of fire unit of Sviyazhsk District. The museum is to open next year.

Works in the brethren's building of Ivanov Women's Monastery are coming to an end. The building is an interesting example of the monastery residential building of the 18 th century. Nuns and novices lived here in the past. In the Soviet era, residents of communal apartments were located there. Now another pilgrim hotel of Sviyazhsk is going to be built here.

Buildings of civil architecture were also reconstructed. For example, Civil War Museum opened in the House with Columns. The headquarters of the 5 th Red Army was supposed to be located here. The museum became one of the most popular sites of the island.

Civil War Museum opened in the House with Columns. The headquarters of the 5 th Red Army was supposed to be located here. Photo: Mikhail Kozlovsky

The Sviyazhsk District College opened by the Kazan Imperial University in 1818 used the Krylov House before the revolution. The building was given back to the Kazan university almost two centuries later. World Cultural Heritage Information and Education Centre of Kazan Federal University opened its doors in January.

The buildings of the craft school and fire unit will be restored this year. Art galleries and tourism centres will open here. A two-storeyed wooden house on Troitskaya Street where artist Arkhiereyev's museum will be situated will be put in order. The work on creation of the first Russian wood museum where the remains of the wooden construction of the island of the 16th century is going on.

About Turkish bath and how Shamiev reads Realnoe Vremya at night

Construction of Kul Gali hotel in honour of the celebrated medieval poet and founder of Bolgarian poetry was the priority of development of Bolgar last year. The complex will become a kind of continuance of the history of caravanserais, which appeared in the 9 th-13th centuries on trade roads. They will try to revive ancient traditions of Bolgarian hospitality and cuisine. The recreated analogue of Bolgarian baths of the White Chamber will be one of the attractive sides of the hotel.

''I think we will invite members of the board of trustees to Bolgar to take a bath at the end of next year. Women and men will take a bath on different days. To feel these traditions – Roman and Greek, Tatar and Bolgarian. Everything will be presented in the White Chamber. I read about the story of Turkish bath yesterday. Indeed, there is a lot of wealth in the world! Guy Nogmanov wrote about Turkish bath in Realnoe Vremya. I read at night and go to work in the morning. It seems to be possible at the age of 80,'' Mintimer Shaimiev smiled.

According to the state adviser, the recreation of the Turkish bath in Bolgar will enable to increase the level of hotel service. It is an important site of the complex. This is why the constructors are not hastened.''

Eleonora Mitrofanova: ''Renascence foundation copes with all these tasks brilliantly. Here there is a wonderful team it is a pleasure to work with''

''It is a remarkable place, it is very beautiful. There will be many people who will want to go, stay and look. All these conditions are created thanks to Tatneft and TAIF,'' the board of trustees chairman thanked the investors.

Due to the support of the companies, construction on the site doesn't stop. General construction works have been already completed, all utilities were provided, the lake on the territory of the complex was cleaned. This year internal networks are assembled and final finish is given inside. The hotel is to open in 2018.

''Last year I witnessed when the UNESCO memorial sign was installed in Bolgar. Of course, I was surprised at the changes that took place during a short period. The number of people who visit this place also amazes. The changes in Sviyazhsk also amazed me and, first of all, the insular residents. Their life radically improved,'' Ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Eleonora Mitrofanova expressed his gladness.

The honourable guest promised to further help to promote the inclusion of the Assumption Cathedral to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. Although she told it became very and very difficult to hold such procedures in recent years because they need to prove that the Sviyazhsk church is unique and has a huge stage-by-stage work. The international organisation is having financial problems and trying to limit the inclusion of sites to the list by all means. As Mitrofanova said, Tatarstan already has well-prepared experts for this work.

''Renascence foundation copes with all these tasks brilliantly. Here there is a wonderful team it is a pleasure to work with,'' the MIA ambassador says.

This is why the inclusion of the Sviyazhsk cathedral to the UNESCO list is quite a real task for Tatarstan, the guest is convinced.

By Vasilya Shirshova. Photo: prav.tatarstan.ru

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