Late 6th to late 19th century
Chufut-Kale (Tatar for "Jew's fortress") is located not far from Bakhchisaray, on the plateau that towers 200 m above neighboring valleys and is limited with precipices up to 50 m high from three sides. This fortress was established in the late 6th or 7th century as a Byzantine stronghold and populated with local tribes of the Alans, who were the allies of the Empire.
The name of Kyrk-Or, or "forty forts" in Turkish, appeared in the 13th century. In 1340s, under Djanibek khan, the fortress fell into the hands of the Tartars. In the 15th century, Chufut-Kale became the first capital of the Crimean Khanate and the residence of the first Crimean khans Haji-Girey and Mengli-Girey. In the 16th century, the capital was moved to Bakhchesaray, and the population of Kyrk-Or restricted to a small Armenian community and, mainly, the Karaites, who adhered to a non-Talmud Judaism. From the 17th century onwards, the town was known as Chufut-Kale or "Jewish fortress."
Today, the site of Chufut-Kale presents the fortification system with defensive walls, southern and eastern gates, and towers; streets with narrow sidewalks, dwelling houses, praying houses of the Karaites, or "kenassas"; the mausoleum of Djanike-Khanym who were the daughter of the khan Tokhtamysh; and cave constructions, which were carved for various purposes.
© T. Yashaeva