by Olga BAZANOVA, journalist
The city of Cheboksary (Shupashkar in Chuvash) rising on, the picturesque right bank of the water storage lake of the same name dates back to the year 1469. According to an official register, that year the Moscow voivode Boyar Ivan Dmitriyevich Runo made a stopover out there during his war campaign against Kazan. However, archeological findings of the 1960s and 1970s showed that a big settlement was there as early as the 13th-14th centuries, as proved by maps drawn by two Venetians, Francesco and Domenico Pizzigani in 1367.
Ahmed ibn Fadlan, an Arab traveler, who in 922 visited Volga Bulgaria*, left a detailed description of this territory, local customs, everyday life and social activities of the lieges, including the Suvaz people. He was the first to put down this tribal name-the origi-
* A historical state in the Middle Volga Region and the Kama river basin established by Turkic tribes that migrated from the Northern Black Sea Region and Caucasia in the 7th-8th centuries.-Ed.
nal name of the Chuvash as well as establish similarity of their native tongue to the Bulgarian languages*, and pointed to their refusal to convert to Islam that by that time had been the established religion of the country.
* Bulgarian (Bulgar) languages, the Turkic linguistic group of long ago. Its constituent languages, with the exception of Chuvash, are now dead.-Ed.
Church of the Presentation of the Virgin.
In 1237-1240 Volga Bulgaria was devastated by Mongols and Tatars who forced Suvaz people to migrate northwards, upstream the Volga, where they naturalized and lived together with local Finno-Ugrian tribes, the Mari. This is how the ethnographic group of "upstream" Chuvash (Viryal) came to be; but direct descendants of Bulgar tribes that moved south and found shelter in the forests along the Sura (Volga tributary) and inflowing rivers were named "downstream" Chuvash (Anatri).
Both "upst ... Читать далее