Chronicle of events

Irina Bokova: "Bolgar is a world heritage site that is developing together with UNESCO"

On August 22, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and State Counsellor of the republic Mintimer Shaimiev visited the Bolgar historical and archaeological complex.

Bokova visited Bolgar in 2014, when she came to Tatarstan to hand in the certificate about the inscription of Bolgar historical and archeological complex in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Today she was shown the sites that have been erected in the last three years.

Shaimiev invited Irina Bokova to see the complex of the Bolgar Islamic Academy, that was built in one year. The laying of the first stone in the foundation of the Academy was held on the 21st of May, 2016. Now the building is fully equipped and ready to accept its first students in September this year.

Bokova visited a multi-functional hall, an amphitheater that provides facilities for holding symposiums with a maximum capacity of 750 people and using it as a lecture hall for 350 students, a library, living rooms for students, classrooms, the Ulema Council office and other rooms.

Shaimiev told Irina Bokova about the important mission of the Bolgar Academy, which will be the highest link in the revived system of Islamic education in Russia to train the intellectual elite of the Muslim Ummah of the country - masters and doctors of Islamic theology.

Then the guests went to the Volga river embankment, where, with the assistance of the Revival Foundation, work on its improvement, coordinated with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, has been underway since 2014.

"First of all, careful attitude to this cultural monument surprised me. I was here three years ago, right after it was included in the World Heritage List. I came to present the certificate about the inclusion and visit these holy places for Tatars and Muslims. At the same time, it is a site that is developing together with UNESCO. We are going hand in hand with its development, our experts together with experts from Tatarstan and Russia are constantly developing this World Heritage site. They are very careful about archeology.  You have created a very impressive Bogar Islamic Academy, which I have just visited. I would like to congratulate Mintimer Shaimiev and Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov on this achievement. And the embankment is a beautiful avenue for children and tourists. I am impressed that children study history and culture. That is the point of the cultural heritage. As I often say, these are not just stones, which sometimes are of an aesthetic value. They have a message, history and values. And I am amazed that Tatarstan has the same attitude to the heritage," Bokova said when sharing her impressions about her visit to Bolgar.

Shaimiev stressed once again the great importance of the Bolgar Islamic Academy for the republic, the country and the world. "We are developing and are obliged to develop, because this is the territory of a developed medieval state. The establishment of the Bolgar Islamic Academy is one of the directions of development. It is very important that the purpose of the Academy is to strengthen traditional Islam in Russia,” he said.

Tatarstan President's Press Office, N. Shaidullina