The Black Chamber


The Black Chamber is one of the best preserved buildings of the Golden Horde Bolgar (14th century). It was built of tufa and limestone. The roof of this four-tier structure is made in the form of a cupola. On the sides of the lower floor, there were small premises. Windows were made in all four walls of each tier. The fourth tier was built in the form of the octagonal structure. The artistic decoration of the premise was done in the cupola hall of the second tier with windows: the patterned carving on gypsum of the plastered walls, the framing of the stair passages, and the window grates. Only the central part has survived out of the common multi-tier architectural complex with the fragments of the interior. From certain features of the elements (excluding the building material) it is seen that the Black Chamber is close to the Middle-Asian structures of the 14th century. Out of the preserved monuments of Oriental architecture, the closest links with its original image can be found in the Divan-khane in Baku, which was, according to sources, the khan’s judicatory. In the 18th century, it housed the monastery fumitory, which was organised by monks. May be this fact gave the name to this monument. In the 70s of the 19th century, owing to the preservation of the Black Chamber, the Archaeological, Historical, and Ethnographic Society under Kazan University established a museum of antiques here. It collected the tomb stones, large architectural elements of the Bolgar ruins. The archaeological research was conducted at the Black Chamber in 1957 and 1966. The restoration of the chamber was performed in 1884 - 1926, 1956, 1976, and 1987. In 2010 – 2012, the large-scale work was done here for waterproofing and hydrophobisation of the unique monument, the only civic structure preserved in Bolgar from the 14th century, and for the dismantling of the conservation masonwork of the roundabout gallery.
Last updated: Apr, 04, 2013, 17:28
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