The dominant architectural feature of Bolgar, this mosque was built in the 1260s, but it owes its present look to a 14th-century remodelling, which gave it stronger walls, octagonal columns and, a little later, also corner turrets.
Time took its toll on the building, but most of the damage was done by treasure hunters, who dug tunnels underneath the structure.
The mosque was conserved and partially restored in 1964-1967. The current minaret, reconstructed on the original foundation in place of the older one, which collapsed in 1841, is the most substantial result of the most recent conservation effort, ongoing since 1995.
Izge Bolgar Jieny is the festival celebrating the acceptance of Isla.m. as the national faith in Volga Bulgaria, staged in Bolgar at the end of May. The culmination of the festival is the namaz prayer in the Cathedral Mosque.