The Bakhchisarai Cave Monastery

There's no set date as to when this monastery was built, but the local monks claim that it was founded in the 8th century. It was abandoned when Byzantium became less prominent in Crimea and the whole region.

An old legend says that an icon of holy Mary, the mother of Jesus, illuminated by a bright candle, appeared out of nowhere high up on the cliff and was witnessed by a shepherd. The prince sent to take the icon to his own palace, however, when he woke up the next day, it was gone - the icon was still "hanging" on the same spot on the cliff. There was a second attempt to take it away, but the holy icon still returned to its previous position. That's when the locals learned that it was not to be touched. So, they built a tiny chapel in a cave roughly 20 meters up in the cliffs with stairs leading to it. The miraculous icon was placed in the newly-built monastery.

The chapel was still standing even when the Tatars conquered Crimea, and a lot of the Russian prisoners that were kept in Chufut-Kale were allowed by the conquerors to attend services there. Furthermore, they even allowed them to speak to the Russian emissary there as well.

However, when the Soviets came around, the monastery wasn't particularly popular, and in 1924, 7 years after the Russian revolution, it was officially closed.

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