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Home » Files » TOURS & EXCURSIONS IN CRIMEA » BAKHCHISARAY TOURS

CHUFUT-KALEH CAVE TOWN (6th CEN). KARAITES
[ ] 19.07.2010, 11:07
 

 Researchers are not unanimous as to the time of the town`s appearance. Some of them consider it to be a Byzantine fortress founded in the 6th century. 
 During the early period of the town`s history, it was mainly populated by Alens, the most powerful of late Sarmatian tribes of Iranian descent. They began penetrating the Crimea from the 2nd century A.D. Settling down in the mountainous Crimea, the Alans adopted Christianity. They angaged in agriculture, cattle-breeding and handicrafts. In written sources it is mentioned in the 13th cen. under the name of Kyrk-Or (Forty Fortifications). This name lasted until the mid-17th century.
 
 In the 1299 the Tatar horde of Emir Nogai raided the Crimean peninsula. Kyrk-Or was among the sacked towns. Having seized the town, the Tatars quartered their garrison in it.
 At the turn of the 15th cen., Tatars settled Karaite craftsmasters in front of the eastern line of fortifications; the Karaites built a second defencive wall to protect their settlement, and thus a new part of the town appeared.
 I the 15th cen. the first Krimean Khan, Hadji-Girei, who realized the fortress` advantages, turned the old section of the town into his fortified residence. Years later it also safeguarded khans during their internecine strife and was a reliable shelter during their struggle against the Golden Horde for independance.
 After the defeat of the Golden Horde, the Crimean Khanate became considerably stronger. The significance of Kyrk-Or as a stronghold declined, and the Crimean Khan Mengli-Girei moved his capital to Bakhchisarai. The old town remained a citadel of Bakhchisarai. The old town remained a citadel of Bakhchisarai and a place of interaction for aristocratic prisoners.
 
 In the mid-17th century Tatars left Kyrk-Or. Only Karaites remained to live there. They were the descedants of ancient Turkic-speaking Khazars, whose state in the 7th-10th cen. included parts of the Crimea. In the 8th cen. the Khazar Kaganate adopted Judaism. Tatars considered Karaites to be Juws, hence the town gradually acquired the name of Chufut-Kale, which in Turkic meant "Juwish fortress". After the Tatar departure, Karaites lived there for over 200 years. They adopted Karaism, a doctrine which regects rabbinism and talmudism and bases its tenets on the interpretation of the Pantateuch. With time, the word "Karaite" came to refer to the name of the people.
 
 After the Crimea`s conquest and its inclusion into the Russian empire, the Karaites declared their loyalty to the new rulers. In return the goverment granted them privileges, enabling them to live anywhere in the empire. From that time on, Chufut-Kale became deserted. Its dwellers left the plateau and settled in cities.  By the mid-19th cen. the town ceased to exist.
 

We can suggest a lunch at the Crimean Tatar cafe http://alie.com.ua/foto after excursion: local cuisine, oriental flavor, natural products, Crimean Tatar music, riding.

See more also about Crimean Tatars



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