The Cathedral’s Mosque is the main building in the ancient city of Bolgar. It was built of white limestone in the 1260s. It was the first building built in Bolgar from stone, after its capture by the Mongol Khan Batu.
Volga Bulgaria adopted Islam as the state religion in 922. In the 1230s, Batu Khan made a campaign to the Russian lands. During the campaign, he conquered also Bolgar, but did not destroy it, like the Russian cities. On the contrary, while Batu was constructing his own city of Sarai-Batu, Bolgar became one of his capitals.
The period from the middle of the 13th to the 14th century was the time of the highest heyday of the Bolgar, when the main buildings were built of stone here. The Cathedral’s Mosque and the Khan`s Palace were the most monumental buildings. Only their ruins have survived to this day. The best preserved Mausoleums of Bolgar, which are located near the Mosque, as well as the Black Chamber.
The foundation of the Cathedral’s Mosque of Bolgar has the shape of a square of 34 x 32 meters. At first, only the outer walls were made of stone, and the floor and roof were made of wood. In the following years, the Cathedral’s Mosque was built entirely of stone, including the internal colonnades. In 1360, powerful towers were erected on four sides of the Cathedral’s Mosque, which made the mosque look like a fortress. During the raids of the nomads, the powerful fortifications of the Cathedral’s Mosque were convenient for organizing defense.
In the 13th century, a minaret was erected over the Cathedral’s Mosque. It collapsed in 1841 due to the digging of treasure hunters under the foundation. In 2000, the minaret was restored, increasing the height by 10 meters. You can climb the minaret to see the ancient Bolgar from a height. In 2010, archaeologists and restorers made large-scale work to restore the ruins of the Cathedral’s Mosque.