Eski-Kermen is a medieval town in the southwest of the Crimea. It means ‘old fortress’ in Crimean-Tatar.
Eski-Kermen is located near the city of Bahchisaray. It was built on a plateau bounded by thirty-meter steeps (a mountain mass in the middle of the picture).
So hot, so many trees and birds… Looks just like jungle!
Here’s one of the paths…
Here one can discern the remains of the watch tower.
Almost on top!
The town was founded at the end of the 6th century A. D. as a byzantine fortification, and had existed until the end of the 14th century. Its history up to the 10th century is not well known because it was an insignificant fortress.
Siege well of the 6th century.
You can see how tall it is, standing on the very brink of the precipice.
On the left, there is one of the defensive rooms of the fortress.
The staircase consists of 6 flights of stairs and 80 steps.
Down there is a 20-meter passage leading to the cave. They accumulated water there, that’s why the people were able to stand long sieges.
This well played an important role in the history of the town. Thus, during the Khazars’ seige, the people of the town successfully repulsed the attacks. The invaders were about to leave, when a man from a nearby village, a traitor, showed them the place on the rock that was closest to the well. At night, they made a breach in the well and siezed the main gates. The town got empty. Those who survived, had to leave the town because there was no water in Eski-Kermen anymore.
The town began to grow since the 10th century. Its flourishing falls on the 12th and 13th centuries when its population outnumbered 2000.
About 350 caves were cut out in the rocks inside the town, and 50 more outside it. They would keep kettle in there, do handicraft, make wine, and store it there!
Here’s a staircase leading down to the caves.
The biggest part of the fortress territory was an unbuilt area, because they needed space and shelter in case of an attack.
The residential area was built up with two-storey houses with tiled roofs. The ground stone floor had storages cut out in the rocks. The first floor was made of wood and as a rule, had a balcony.
There was a water pipeline in the town. It was made of clay pipes and supplied water from the springs up in the hills, which were 4 kilometers away. Also, there was a necropolis and several other religious buildings.
In 1399, the town was destroyed by the Mongolian army and since then, it was never restored.
Nevertheless, it’s so beautiful here!
The ruins got overgrown with trees and buried undeground.
Everything was very smart in this town. Pay your attention to the ‘pipe bend’ covered in grass.
This used to be a granary. During the rain, these holes would get covered.
Here’s how it looks from the inside.
Here’s the central part of the town. It could have been the central square.
Here’s the central street of the town. One can see chariot trails in there.
What kind of a town has no church? Here it is!
This is the alter. There used to be a lot of frescos here but they did not preserve. The passage to the right of the alter, leads to a cellule, a place where one could sleep and pray. The acoustics here’s just great!
The South Gates. On the left, there were guards’ casemates. On the right, a customs station where people would pay money for entrance.
Horses used to pull carts and people used to go along this road…
This is another temple in the rock. There is a fresco with three horsemen inside it. The fresco is dated to the 12th or 13th century.
It has two doors, entrance and exit. Here the warriors of Eski-Kermen used to receive blessings before battles.