The Dagestani city called Derbent is the most ancient in Russia: historians claim it is 5000 years old. True or not is a moot point, but the city is really very, very old. Wiki says that the modern city was founded in 438 AD while it got the status of a Russian city not so long ago – in 1840.
The historical part of the city is worth seeing indeed.
The name of the city is translated as “two gates”. The city appeared as a fortress in 438 AD, it was built by the Persians, the ancestors of the Iranians. There is a khan citadel on the hill of the city and two impregnable walls came down from the mountain to the sea. They protected the city from all sides.
These walls have been preserved till our days.
Some buildings are ancient, others are new. “Zhiguli” is a favorite brand of the Dagestani people.
There are still bullet holes on the Armenian church which remained from numerous wars undergone by the city.
The picture is classic for the city – plastic windows and destroyed “Zhiguli”.
The city has been recently flooded.
“Hijab helps to preserve your beauty longer”.
Religious mores in Dagestan are not as strict as in Arab countries, few wear hijabs, but almost all women wear headscarves.
This woman wants to be beautiful as long as possible.
The oldest Russian mosque is also here. This building is more than 4 000 years old. But restaurateurs have spoiled it and it doesn’t look ancient.
They are repairing it inside too.
“Please do not smoke in the mosque!”
The Prophet Muhammad: “Wish peace and kindness in your home will grow!” – that copyright sign is wonderful!
People like to eat under the open sky.
Sometimes it looks like this.
This is the citadel of the fortress.
From above one can view all the city and the sea.
There are no many structures in the citadel.
Something is written in Arab.
The ancient wall underwent some reconstructions in the Soviet time as well.
Though the citadel doesn’t look well-conditioned today, there are no crowds of tourists here.
Behind the walls of the fortress are summer houses built by the locals. They freely capture these territories.
A new house is being built.
These gates are called “the gates of shame”. Historically the family of the khan could escape through them and hide in the mountains. Right at the thousands-years-structure is a scrapyard where city citizens bring all their wastes. That’s the shame.
They throw litter from the fortress itself too.
As you can see all the trash is not far from dwelling houses.
Antique fresh water storage is still full.
This is the well for criminals. When this prison was in use, snakes and crocodiles were swarming down there.
It is the view of Derbent.
These are baths of the khan. Men used to bathe separately from women. If a woman appeared there on a men’s day her eyes were gouged out. If a man appeared there on a women’s day he lost one of his eyes only.
These domes were used for lighting only.
It is the entrance to the khan’s palace.
This is the list of honorable guests.
Derbent is probably the only city that preserved its ancient center safe. Even new houses are not much different from the old ones.
One can have a taxi ride for about three dollars. Taxi drivers are mostly illegal.
New blankets have been brought from Stavropolye.
The citadel is well seen from the city.
The people want to get their compensations for the flood.
Expensive cars look sacrilegiously here.
“The best way to help an abandoned child is … have you mused upon this? – No.”
Locals like their city anyway. It could actually become a popular place for tourists but something should be done for this.