''Who could imagine that more than half a million tourists would annually visit Bolgar!''

Renascence regional fund awarded the 8th volume of the Book of Benefactors

''Who could imagine that more than half a million tourists would annually visit Bolgar!'' Photo: tatarstan.ru

Renascence regional fund opened its ninth volume of the Book of Benefactors, which will be published this year already. Activists of Kazan Volunteers movement became the first people who voluntarily donated money to restore historical and architectural landmarks of Tatarstan. They will work with foreign teams in the Football World Cup and offer them to visit Bolgar and Sviyazhsk. Realnoe Vremya's reporter went to the award ceremony of the eighth volume of the Book of Benefactors and knew whose names were written down in 2017.

Over half a million tourists visited Bolgar in 2017

At the award ceremony of the eighth volume of the Book of Benefactors and letters of gratitude of the Regional Fund of Revival of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Tatarstan, State Adviser of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev called the last year favourable for the fund. ''All parameters we aspired for in 2017 were fulfilled, even beforehand in some cases. This year we finish the main part of the programme we planned together with Vladimir Putin's support. We will think how to draw general conclusions next year,'' the chairman of the board of trustees of the fund claimed.

Mintimer Shaimiev also noted that Tatarstan was the only region in the Russian Federation to include three sites in the UNESCO list at once in the last 18 years. ''I want to thank everybody because all population, all benefactors liked the job. Who could imagine that such a thing would happen several years later: 540,000 people visited Bolgar and 491,000 did Sviyazhsk last year. The Bolgarian and Sviyazhsk museum-reserves find new approaches to attract guests. Tourists visit Tatarstan a lot. It is what ''walk and ye shall reach'' means. I can enumerate all people by names and thank,'' the Tatarstan state adviser said.

The Assumption Cathedral and monastery of the island-city Sviyazhsk were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site List last year. Photo: Mikhail Kozlovsky

What museums will open in Bolgar and Sviyazhsk this year

It should be reminded that the Assumption Cathedral and monastery of the island-city of Sviyazhsk were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site List last year. Renascence fund also managed to include the Bolgarian Historical and Architectural Complex in the UNESCO list within 7 years. By the way, the inclusion of the first Tatarstan site, the Kazan Kremlin, in this list was also initiated by Mintimer Shaimiev.

Museumification goes on in the reserves: it's planned to open 13 news museums in Bolgar, 9 – in Sviyazhsk. ''From a perspective of volume and content, the museums are different,'' Mintimer Shaimiev said. ''Abdulla Alish's museum, who is native of Spas District, will open in Bolgar. We've been building the wood archaeological museum in Sviyazhsk for many years (Editor's Note: we should remind it will be first in Russia).''

A three-kilometre embankment is improved in Bolgar. One will be able to know all history of Bolgar while walking on it. Mintimer Shaimiev separately mentioned the interest of the fund in studying the Silk Road. But the work in this area will require the participation of many countries.

''The construction of Kul Gali hotel complex ends this year.'' A managing company that will learn the ropes and participate in the facility's commissioning was created. The reconstruction of Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral continues,'' the Tatarstan state adviser enumerated this year's plans. He also noted that Vladimir Putin was given the Book of Benefactors during his last visit to Kazan. The Russian president's surname was also included in the book by his consent.

The construction of Kul Gali hotel complex ends this year. Photo: Mikhail Kozlovsky

Benefactors: from Kaliningrad to Komsomolsk-on-Amur, from Krasnodar to Salekhard

Before awarding the guests the eighth volume of the Book of Benefactors and letters of gratitude of the Regional Fund of Revival of Historical and Architectural Monuments of Tatarstan, Executive Director of the fund, Deputy Chairman of the Tatarstan State Council Tatiana Larionova reminded that 74,000 names were included in the book for 8 years. The eighth volume consists of more than 6,000 surnames of benefactors. The geography of Russian citizens who made their contribution to the conservation of the historical heritage of Tatarstan covers 31 cities – from Kaliningrad to Komsomolsk-on-Amur, from Krasnodar to Salekhard. In 2017, compatriots from Germany and Italy also joined the conservation of Tatarstan's cultural heritage.

Mintimer Shaimiev gave the first books and letters of gratitude to Rauil Rakhmatullin, Tatarstan State Council deputy. Tatiana Larionova says he unchangeably sends money to Renascence fund every year. Director General of Kazanorgsintez PJSC Farid Minigulov also received the book. The enterprise monthly supports Renascence fund by expending money for both the sites in Bolgar and Sviyazhsk and Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral. Director General of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Azat Bikmurzin's contribution was also mentioned at the ceremony. Tatiana Larionova called his personal support and help invaluable for the fund.

Kazanorgsintez PJSC monthly supports Renascence fund, while Tatiana Larionova called Azat Bikmurzin's personal support and help invaluable for the fund

Alhambra's chamber and analysis of ruins of cave church

Heads of Spas, Zelenodolsk, Bavly, Yutazy and other districts were invited to the stage for the award ceremony. Their surnames were also written down in the history of conservation of the historical heritage of Tatarstan. ''A wonderful woman who sent her own money to the fund on the first day'', notary Mileusha Khabibullina was also on the list.

Khaidar Kamaletdinov, vice president of the International Association of Islamic Business, was awarded for his support in the construction of the Bolgarian Islamic Academy, and Director General of Grid Company PSJC Ilshat Fardiyev was given the book for participating in the reconstruction of Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral.

Rashid Uteshev, director general of Neftekhimenergosbyt Scientific Production Centre PLC gave the Bolgarian Museum-Reserve a miniature of one of the carved chambers of Alhambra, which is also on the UNESCO list. This act was the reason to include Rashid Uteshev to the Book of Benefactors.

Honourable architect of Tatarstan, senior professor of the Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering Farida Zabirova was awarded for her non-financial contribution to the reconstruction of Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral. She did a complicated historical and cultural analysis of the ruins of the cathedral in the cave for free. It would be impossible to start the cathedral's reconstruction without this job.

Then Mintimer Shaimiev opened pages of the ninth volume of the book, which will be published this year. Activists of Kazan Volunteers movement became its first benefactors who sent money to the account of Renascence fund. But it was noted they would make their biggest contribution during the 2018 WC when guests and participants are offered to visit Bolgar and Sviyazhsk.

Mintimer Shaimiev opened pages of the ninth volume of the book, which will be published this year

It should be reminded that Renascence fund sends voluntarily money to reconstruct Bolgar and Sviyazhsk, erection of the Bolgarian Islamic Academy and recreation of Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral. The eighth volume of the Book of Benefactors as well as seven previous books are available online on Renascence fund's page.

By Ekaterina Gumarova. Photo: tatarstan.ru