Cultural Heritage of Russian regions

18 November 2022


Due to the fact that 2022, in accordance with Presidential Decree №745 of 30.12.21, is dedicated to the cultural heritage of peoples of Russia, we offer a series of publications on this important topic for the history and culture of the multinational Russian state.

This decision testifies to the great attention being paid in the domestic policy of our state to promoting history and culture of peoples, preserving the continuity of traditions of all the peoples and ethnic communities of the multinational country.

The notion of cultural values is defined in detail in the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted on November 16, 1972 by the United Nations General Conference on Education, Science and Culture. Article 1 of this document defines cultural heritage as:

“Monuments: works of architecture, monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of archaeological character, inscriptions, caves and groups of elements which are of outstanding universal value from the perspective of history, art or science; ensembles: groups of isolated or united structures, architecture, unity or connection with the landscape of which are of outstanding universal value from the perspective of history, art or science;

Sites: works of man or combined works of nature and of man, as well as areas including archaeological sites of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological points of view”.

The Russian Federation adopted the Federal Law №73-FZ of 25.06.2002 (version of 21.12.2021) “On Objects of Cultural Heritage (Monuments of History and Culture) of the Peoples of the Russian Federation”.

The peculiarities of the historical development of Russian statehood have determined its ethnic and cultural diversity. The study of traditions and culture of peoples living on the territory of Russia makes it possible to comprehend the uniqueness of the common Russian civilizational identity and contributes to consolidating the spiritual connection between generations and getting acquainted with the centuries-old history of the Russian state.

One of the famous Russian cultural heritage sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage List is the Bulgarian State Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve (located in the Spassky district of the Republic of Tatarstan). Up to 100 architectural monuments of varying degrees of preservation and historical value have been identified on its territory. The year of 2022 marks the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria, ancestors of the Tatars. The adoption of Islam in the XI century as a state religion played a significant role in the spread of Islam throughout central, northern, eastern and western parts of Russia.

The emergence of Volga Bulgaria in the Middle Volga region during the early Middle Ages created the conditions for the formation of original culture with its own artistic traditions, which have survived to the present day in the unique heritage of Volga Bulgaria.

A detailed description of historical events of the X century is known thanks to the historical monument – the travel notes of Ahmed ibn Fadlan, an Arab traveler, secretary and actual leader of the Baghdad Caliph Al-Muqtadir’s Embassy to Almush Khan of the Volga Bulgars, in which he described the historical situation, cultural and religious rites of the peoples of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russian and Volga Bulgaria through which his journey took place.

This event is important not only for the formation of a new Tatar religious order, but also for comprehension of the Russian history as a single civilizational whole and for understanding of a deep connection between the past and the present in the spiritual and moral development of the modern multinational state.

Detailed information on the history, architecture, arts and crafts, religion and trade relations of Ancient Bulgars can be found in the encyclopedia Tatarika on the website. 

Increasing attention to the study of the historical and cultural, spiritual environment of Russian cities as a link of integration and a component of the preservation of the Russian heritage testifies to the continuing interest in its past.

One of the authors of numerous publications on the history and modernity of the ancient city of Derbent is Seidova Gulchokhra Nadirovna, Head of the UNESCO Chair in Comparative Studies of Spiritual Traditions, their Specific Cultures and Interreligious Dialogue in the North Caucasus (Derbent); Associate Professor at the Department of Legal and Humanitarian Disciplines, Derbent Branch of DSU, Ph.D. in Philosophy, Associate Professor. She was awarded the International Gold Medal “Rose of Peace”. We offer excerpts from her publications on the history of Derbent.

“Derbent is a museum city, one of the most ancient in the world, awarded an Honorary Diploma and the UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence, and included in the List of World Cultural Heritage Sites. At the crossroads of cultures and civilizations, this city has long been a bridge between the Middle East, West Asia and Eastern Europe. Representatives of different ethnic groups, faiths and cultures have always coexisted peacefully here. The Juma Mosque in Derbent (VIII century) is one of the five ancient mosques in the world and is the oldest on the territory of Russia. The geographical and strategic location on the route of great migrations and relocations of peoples has determined the special cultural and historical fate of Derbent.

Derbent is sometimes spoken of as one of the oldest “living” cities in the world, the oldest on the territory of the Russian Federation. A lot of famous conquerors of the medieval East demonstrated their military talent and won fame within its walls. It would suffice to mention the names of the greatest military leaders of Arab Caliphate Maslama and Merwan, Seljuk commanders Sau-Tegin and Yagma, Genghis Khan’s associates Subudai Bahadur and Jebe Noon, the conqueror Timur and his adversary, the ruler of the Golden Horde Tokhtamysh, the Turkish sultan Selim, Shah Ismail Sefevi, the ruler of Iran Shah Abbas the Great, and the “storm of the universe” Nadir Shah. The modern city was founded in 438 AD as a Persian fortress, consisting of a citadel on a hill (Naryn-Kala) and two stone walls running downhill from it to the sea. The historical and architectural monuments of the old town include a mosque with a minaret (VIII century), the Juma Mosque (VIII century), the Kilisya Mosque (XI-XIII centuries) and the Kyrhlyar Mosque (XVII century).

The idea of preserving and popularizing cultural heritage should be a priority, not only for the state bodies concerned, but also to attract public and religious associations, to be demanded by various sections of the population, including the infrastructure of tourism, both domestic and international. The emphasis should not be on the fact that in the modern era the state of culture is determined by economy, and the cultural development of the individual by a way of life, but precisely on the fact that today it is the cultural factors that significantly determine both the economic potential of society and the stability of political system”.



GSV "Russia - Islamic world"