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The Volga Bulgaria

Since the middle of the VIIIth century the Turkic-speaking Bolgar tribes penetrated into the Middle Volga region. The most well-known among them are the Barandgars, the Bolgars, the Bersula, the Suvar and others, who came from the regions of the north-western pre-Caucasus as a result of the Arabian-Khazar wars of the 732-735.

Nearer to the Xth century came the second wave of the Bolgar migration to the Middle Volga and the Kama region from the southern steppes.

At the same time constant immigration of the Ural-Kama and South Ural population, including the Ugrian (Madjar) tribes, was taking place. In VIIIth - Xth centuries the basis of the culture of the new people - the Volga Bulgarians - is being laid as a result of the interaction of the Turkic-speaking Bolgar tribes and the Finno-Ugrian population.

In the Xth century the early-feudal state of the Volga Bulgaria has been formed in the Middle Volga region. During the period of its formation Bulgaria was in the state of vassalage with the Khazar khanate and occupied a small territory in the region of Kama and Volga confluence.

It was as early as that time that several towns - tribal centres - existed. They are Suvar, Bolgar on Volga, Bolgar-Bilyar, Oshel', etc.

One of the main supports of the state was the Moslem religion, officially accepted by the Bulgars in the beginning of the Xth century. The flourish of the Volga Bulgaria corresponds to the XIth - beginning of the XIII century. The basic territory of the state significantly grew.

       

The archaeologists nowadays recognise more than 1500 Bulgarian sites of the pre-Mongolian time on the territory of Bulgaria. The foundation of economy of the Volga Bulgaria was the highly developed plough agriculture and animal husbandry. Crafts were of great significance - metallurgy, blacksmith's, jewellery, building, pottery-making, glass-making, bone-cutting, tannery, weaver's crafts and others. The third important component of the Bulgarian economy was trade.

The flourish of the Bulgarian trade was much due to the location of the state on the most important intercontinental trade route - the Volga-Baltic route as well as to the high level of the craft and farming development.

In 1223-1240 Bulgaria recklessly resisted to the Mongol hordes which strove to conquer the state. The unequal struggle resulted in the conquest of Bulgaria, the havoc of its economy and culture, the destruction of the cities.

The devastated Volga Bulgaria was included into the Golden Horde.

In the Museum funds the culture of the pre-Mongolian Bulgaria is represented by numerous materials. The basic collections are AKY-2, -85, AKY-87, AKY-94 - "Bolgar, Bilyar and other sites" - the united collection, the basis of which is constituted by the materials of the Society for Archaeology, History and Ethnography of the Emperor's Kazan University; AKY-278, AKY-279 - the sites of the Low Kama region (excavations and explorings by E.A.Begovatov, K.A.Rudenko in 1991-1997); AKY-262, AKY-285 - "The Bilyar site of ancient city, the inner town, the potter's workshop, the alchemist's workshop" - research by S.I.Valiulina.

E.A.Begovatov, S.I.Valiulina.

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