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Bakhchisaray

Bakhchisaray has got "blue blood" in its "veins" as this small country town (the name is translated as "the city in the garden") was designed and built as the capital of the Crimean Tatar Khanate between the 15th and 18th centuries. The khans of the Girays dynasty ruled the Crimea for more than 3 centuries.


Nowadays it is one of the towns in the Crimea most frequently visited by tourists. The Khan's Palace that is a vivid example of Tatar culture is the main place of interest. Fire and other damage has necessitated rebuilding over the years, but the structure still resembles the original.The survived monuments include several palace buildings, the Falcon Tower, Great Khan Mosque, the harem buildings, the Fountain Patio with Fountain of Tears glorified in poetic lines of Alexander Pushkin. It's tradition that two roses - one red for love and one yellow for chagrin - are placed atop the fountain; Pushkin was the first to do this.

The main palace mosque is reopened for believers. (Tourists sometimes might be allowed in, but be respectful and remove your shoes. Women of course will have to cover their heads.)


Khans' Palace

Khans' Palace

Fountain of Tears


The 500-year old picturesque town, preserving Oriental features, stretches along the canyon bed of the Churuk-Su river right where the sloping fruit orchards turn into mountains where

Assumption cave Monastery is located that is considered to be one of the most ancient Crimean cave monasteries. Its foundation was connected with the period of iconoclasm in Byzantium (the 8th-9th centuries A.D.), when numerous monasteries appeared in the Crimean mountains. It was revered not only by the Orthodox Christians but also by the Muslims, the representatives of the Gireys dynasty who had their residence 7 km from this sacred place. The monastery is fast becoming an important pilgrimage site. Dating from the Middle Ages are: Virgin Maria Saint Icon on a rock, the Assumption of the Virgin Maria cave church, the cave cells, the Father-Superior house, the bell-tower. Visitors climb up to the monastery premises, cut in the rock, and get a spectacular view of the environs.


Assumption Cave Monastery

Assumption Cave Monastery

Assumption Cave Monastery

The Cave Town of Chufut-Cale is situated 1 km east of Assumption Monastery. Rising 550m , this long plateau houses a honeycomb of caves and structures where people took refuge for centuries (at first they were Tatars). It's wonderful to explore, especially (but gingerly) the burial chambers and casemates with large open 'windows' in the vertiginous northern cliff. These are truly breathtaking, as is the view into the valley below. After the Tatars left, Turkic-Jewish Karaites occupied the city until the mid-19th century, which won the mountain its current name of 'Jewish Fortress'.


Chufut-Kale

Karaite Kenassa

Chufut-Kale

It's possible to explore cave complex near the Southern Gate, two kenassa (Karaite praying houses), middle & eastern defensive walls and Karaite cemetery (in Josafat Valley) dating back to the XIV- XIX centuries.





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