Chufut-Kale

In the Medieval Times, Chufut-Kale (it means "The Jewish fortress") was a powerful city fortress in the Crimean Mountains. Today it's in ruins. Chufut-Kale is an official monument of the Crimean Karaite culture. The scientists/historians aren't really sure about the exact date when the city was founded. By rough estimations, it used to be a heavily fortified settlement in the 6th or even 5th century and was a part of the Byzantine Empire.

As for the limestone escarpments around Bakhchisarai, they are dominated by numerous caves. The Neolithic people lived in those caves way before the first settlements.

The ruins of Chufut-Kale are located at the head of a steep valley on the periphery of Bakhchisarai; it's about a mile’s walk from the mesmerizing Khan's Palace.

Today it's a mix of ancient caves and the ruins of buildings that were built on them and around them. The view from the top is spectacular!

There are numerous "mouths" of caves all over the cliffs. They were shaped and formed for many centuries by wind and rain. This town is first mentioned as an outpost for the Byzantine Empire. But, in 1299, it was taken over by the Tatars and they lived in Chufut-Kale right up until the 16th century. Later Tatars successfully moved to Bakhchisarai that was just down the beautiful valley. While the Tatars were ruling these lands, Karaite artisans and merchants moved into the town and setteld there.

After the Russians conquered Crimea and made it a part of their empire, the citizens of the fortress were allowed to find a home anywhere in the peninsula. And that's when Chufut-Kale turned into a "ghost city". Thus, by the mid-19th century ceased to exist.

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