CRIMEA, Day 11 – Chufut-Kale Cave Fortress

Home & Away

Path to Chufut-KaleThe medieval cave-town and fortress complex Chufut-Kale is probably the most unique cultural site I have ever visited and, dare I say, is probably one of the most unique cultural sites on the planet.

Located high in the limestone mountains above Bakhchisaray, this system of naturally-formed caverns and man-made fortifications was last inhabited by Karaims, a Judaic tribe/ sect.* Less than 7,000 Karaims are alive in the world today, about 70 of them in the Bakhchisaray area. They were settled there by the Tatars, who’d had the run of the place for several centuries after taking it from the Byzantines who took advantage of the natural landscape and built the very first defensive post here in the 6th century.

Though now Chufut-Kale is just a historical artifact in semi-ruins, at one point this mountain settlement could house up to 4,000 people. The caves were used for defense and military purposes only…

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