KazanSummit, Holy Bolgar Congress, Cathedral Mosque: events to celebrate 1100th anniversary of adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria

KazanSummit 2022: about 5,000 participants from 55 countries of the world

Almost half a week left to the beginning of events dedicated to the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria. Key events will be held on three sites of Tatarstan from 19 to 21 May. 71 federal and 79 republican events are devoted to this jubilee, while the geography of the celebration will be from Kaliningrad to Sakhalin, said Tatarstan Vice Prime Minister Vasil Shaykhraziyev at a special briefing on 11 May. He noted that different themed forums, competitions, festivals, conferences, concerts and much more would take place during the year.

This time, not only a lot of tourists but also VIP guests from Algeria, Syria, Indonesia, Bahrain and many other countries are expected to come to Tatarstan. 30 ambassadors from different foreign countries of the world as well as heads of different federal ministries have confirmed their consent. More guests can be seen at Kazan Expo and Great Bolgar museum-reserve, which will become the main stage of the celebration of the 1100th anniversary on 21 May.

The main events will start on 19 May with the Russia — Islamic World: KazanSummit International Economic Summit, which has been annual for 13 years. Sharing economy and the common good of Halal will become its major topic. By the way, this year it will be held for three days instead of traditional two. The event promises to become large-scale in terms of participants too: about 1,60 participants from 55 countries of the world and 42 Russian regions have expressed their desire to participate in it — nearly 5,000 guests are expected to come in total.

As acting head of the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency Insaf Galiyev noted, around 100 different sections stationed in three pavilions of Kazan Expo will operate. Russia Halal Expo, which will open on 19 May morning, will become one of the most notable ones. According to Galiyev, the exhibition site has doubled in size, and compared to the first summit held in 2017 it has grown 10 times, the number of exhibitors has tripled. Seven countries will present their products this time — including Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan together 12 Russian regions. Of course, Tatarstan’s stands will become one of the biggest expositions — the republic will show its products in agriculture, medicine, tourism, industry.

As the head of TIDA noted, a global event will take place on this site for the first time — World Halal Day, which has been held annually in different countries of the world. Also, famous expert in regional studies Natalia Zubarevich will be interviewed about the economic review of the current situation. While attendees of the summit will be able to see trends and tendencies of Islamic fashion at Modest Fashion Show at Pyramid Culture and Leisure Complex.

Anybody can attend the event — it is necessary to register on the official website of the summit in advance. Shuttles running from Kazan every 1,5 hours will be organised to get to Kazan Expo.

“The whole complex of events held from 19 to 21 May is integrated. Submitting an application beforehand, every participant can participate in KazanSummit, Russia — Islamic World and a forum of religious clerics. This possibility was created and organised. On 21 May, all these participants who attend these events will be taken to Bolgar if they want, besides all tourists and other people. Communication is crucial for us,” stressed Vasil Shaykhraziyev.

Holy Bolgar Congress, new computer script, updated Quran and film premiere

Holy Bolgar Congress is another upcoming big event next weekend. It will traditionally be held in Great Bolgar museum-reserve on 21 May. The celebration programme includes postmarking the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Bolgars and the start of its circulation, a meeting of the organising committee, then an opening ceremony of the important and meaningful data. Its attendees will be offered a performance that will talk about the formation of Islam in Volga Bulgaria.

Religious clerics’ forum will be held here too, said Vice Premier Vasil Shaykhraziyev:

“1,000 imams from 76 Russian regions and seven countries have confirmed their participation. They will represent the whole country together with all other guests. This is very important and symbolic for us.”

A day before this event, the first foundation stone of the cathedral mosque of the capital is going to be laid on the territory of former Kyrlay Park. As Shaykhraziyev thinks, in the future it is going to become a point of attraction for believers and tourists, one of the landmarks of the city together with the Kazan Cathedral Church that opened last year after reconstruction. Later, a contest for the mosque’s design was announced, experts will decide which one to choose. Then another competition will be announced — Muslims will choose the name for the future mosque.

Also, the Tatarstan Muslim Religious Directorate is preparing another seven important events by the jubilee. Kazan Print Tatar national computer script is developed. It is created on the basis of the authentic typographic print of the Quran Kazan Print issued in the Asian Publishing House in Kazan in 1803 and written down in history as the first printed Quran in the Muslim world. Hazrat Kamil Samigullin will introduce it at a meeting of Russia — Islamic World Strategic Vision Group on 20 May, and it will be available for everybody on this day — it will be posted online.

Also, at the meeting of the group, the head of the Tatarstan Muslim Religious Directorate will present the updated version of the Kazan Print — the first printed version of the Quran in the Muslim world that was recognised by theologians and complied with the standard Ar-Rasm Al-Usmani. Earlier, the Quran was printed in Europe and Saint Petersburg. By the way, this version will also become available for Muslims on the Internet.

Honourable guests of the events will also be presented copies of the original version of the Kazan Print — 4,000 copies have been printed for this purpose, said head of the administration of the directorate Irek Arslanov. A manuscript of the Quran is being written too. As Arslanov noted, one in 30 parts has been prepared so far. By experts’ estimates, it will take nearly two years to write this version of the Muslims’ holy book.

The participanst in the festivities will also be shown the premiere of Ibn Fadlan feature film talking about the adoption of Islam by Bulgaria and the role of this event for the Muslim world. About 30 actors from 10 Tatarstan theatres, from other regions of the country, a total of more than 300 extras are involved in the film. More than 100 historical costumes, about 50 different state props were made deliberately for the film. The shooting was not only in Kazan but also in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Tyumen, Astrakhan Oblast, Buhara and Khiva, Uzbekistan.

The translation of outstanding Tatar theologian Shigabutdin Marjani’s works written in Arabic into the Russian language is another milestone. Experts of the Russian Islamic Institute translated the scientist’s three books into Russia. So one of them is dedicated to the history of Bulgars, Khazars, Tatars and other Turkic ethnicities, another one will tell you about the birth of sciences in the East. Also, the Russian Islamic Institute together with the UAE’s International Centre is preparing to print the History of Islam in Russia. It will be available in Russian, English and Arabic.

“The demonstration of Russia’s positive experience in conserving peace and harmony”

The meeting of the Russian — Islamic World Strategic Vision Group in Kazan, which has been unchangeably chaired by Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov since 2014, will become symbolic this year. Russian Experience of Conservation of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity, Interethnic, Interfaith Harmony as Guarantee of Reinforcement of Civil Identity will become its main theme. The goal of this forum, as the Tatarstan president’s aide Gazinur Bakirov noted, is the demonstration of Russia’s positive experience in conserving peace and harmony between ethnicities. According to him, the group’s session in Kazan is of great interest among foreign guests:

“Despite the complex international state of affairs, the meeting is aimed to show that the group continues working actively and developing contacts with all the partners to strengthen and expand Russia’s positions on the international stage... Unfortunately, the tough logistics in some countries doesn’t permit some delegations to visit Tatarstan, but there will be a chance of participating online.”

Nearly 100 people will come to discuss topical issues: over 70 members of the group, of whom some 30 are from Russia, 15 are from foreign countries, another 27 people are honourable guests. Head of Russia’s Muslim Religious Directorate Mufti Ravil Gaynutdin was expected to come to Kazan too. As it was noted at the briefing, an invitation was sent to him, but the confirmation of his visit hadn’t been received yet.

Exhibitions, plays and light show in the final

Of course, a lot of cultural events are dedicated to the monumental historical landmark. Exhibitions, festivals will be held, spectators will see plays. So Rezeda Akhiyarova’s The Golden Horde play will be shown within the jubilee edition of the 35th International Nuriyev Classic Ballet Festival in the Jalil Opera and Ballet Theatre on 19 May. While from 18 to 22 May, The Black Chamber opera by composer Elmir Nizamov will return to the stage of the Tinchurin Theatre. A bit later, on 15 June, the Kariyev Theatre stage will show the premier of director Renat Ayupov’s Yusuf based on Bulgarian poet Qul Gali’s poem The Legend about Yusuf. As Vice Culture Minister of the republic Lenar Khakimzyanov stressed, the public will see unique historical documents for the first time, while on 24 May, the project Word. Initial Code will open at Khazine National Art Gallery. It is dedicated to the interpretation of Christian and Islam calligraphic traditions with the help of modern art.

The May festivities will end with a light show that can be seen both in Great Bolgar — at the White Mosque — and in the Tatarstan capital — near Kazan Kremlin walls. On 20 and 21 May, guests and citizens of these cities will be able to see Ahmad Ibn Fadlan’s historical drawings, traditional Tatar calligraphic pictures and different allegations to the Quran.

Angelina Panchenko. Photo: tatarstan.ru