The old city of Bolgar is the former capital of the medieval Great Bulgarian empire. It is located 200 km from Kazan, on the bank of the river Volga, and boasts outstanding landmarks.
The historical architectural complex includes an ancient settlement of the 10th-15th centuries, cathedrals, mausoleums, and other historical buildings. The most striking landmark is the magnificent new White Mosque built in 2012.
Also on the territory, is a modern museum where you can learn all about the medieval Golden Horde Empire, the Muslim culture and how it spread over the territory. The museum is large, and it goes six floors underground. Its most famous exhibit is the biggest Quran in the world encrusted with precious gems.
Note that the complex is huge, and it takes a lot of time to see everything. But it is definitely worth it! The spirit of the powerful long-gone empire is all over the place and oftentimes, you will feel like you are living in a fairytale! Also, the views of the river Volga are amazing!
The fastest way to get from Kazan to Bolgar is by a speed boat — it takes less than 2.5 hours.
Great Bolgar is now a UNESCO heritage site. Highly recommended!