Akkerman Fortress: description, history
In our article we want to talk about the ancient fortress in the south of Ukraine. The city of Belgorod-Dniester is in the top ten most ancient cities in the world. He gained fame thanks to a very old fortress, which is an outstanding monument of medieval military architecture.
The history of the city began at the end of the sixth century BC. At that time, on the west coast of the Dniester, the natives of Miletus laid the city of Ofiussu, later Thira. For more than a thousand-year history, the city has repeatedly changed its name. The Romans called him Alba-Yuliya, the Polovtsy and Kumans - Ak-Liba, the Genoese and Venetians of Mon-Castro, the Turks Ak-Kerman, etc. But the Slavic tribes called it White City.
At the end of the fourteenth century in the city completed the construction of a powerful fortress. Construction work has been going on for almost two hundred years. Historians even disagree on who actually built the fortress. Some consider the structure of the Moldavian, others - Turkish, and others - the Genoese.
Appearance of Tyra
As we have already mentioned, the city of Tire appeared thanks to the Milesian settlers.The future Belgorod-Dniester was laid in a good place - at the intersection of trade routes. Actually, the convenient geographical position was the impetus for the transformation of the young settlement into a rich and independent city-state. From the fourth century BC, they even began to mint their own coins. Even after the city was annexed to Moesia, one of the Roman provinces, Belgorod-Dniester still managed to preserve most of its rights: issuing laws, chasing a moment, etc.
The gradual weakening of the Roman Empire led to the fact that Tire in the middle of the third century BC passed to the German Goths. During this period, the city was turned into the center of the Black Sea kingdom. The power is ready lasted just over a hundred years, after which Tire was almost destroyed by the gunas. Then the city was in charge of the Antes.
The era of the rule of the Slavs
Later in the ninth century, the city came under the subordination of the Slavic Tivertsi tribe, who joined it as Belgorod on the Dniester estuary to the possessions of Kievan Rus. Having entered into the composition of the Old Russian state, the city has a rapid development and growth due to its advantageous geographical position.
But in the thirteenth century, the region became a member of turbulent historical events. The weakening of the Old Russian state led to the fact that the city was ruled by the Hungarian kingdom, then by the Golden Horde. It is believed that it was during this stormy time that the Akkerman fortress was laid.
In the fourteenth century, the city passed to the Genoese, who begged him for themselves from the Golden Horde to strengthen their trade. And in 1362 it was renamed Belgorod and again turns out to be Slavic due to the weakening of the Golden Horde. All these two hundred years the construction of the Akkerman fortress went very slowly. And it was completed by the power of the Moldavian principality. The city, as before, continued to flourish, thanks to being on the trade routes.
In the citizenship of Turkey, the city found itself only after the third attempt. It was the Turks who renamed it to Akkerman, which means White Stone. The fortress was reequipped in the modern spirit of the time. The power of the Ottoman Empire lasted 328 years. During the Russian-Turkish wars, the Russian Empire repeatedly attempted to annex the city to itself. In 1812 the city became part of Russia.
With the development of siege technology, stone fortifications could no longer serve as a reliable fortification. The main battle took place in open fields. So gradually the value of the Akkerman fortress as a defensive structure lost all meaning. In 1832, the fortress was abolished and transferred to the care of the city council. From this time on, there was no maintenance for a long time. Initially, the city authorities wanted to sell the walls of the Akkerman fortress, and then disassemble it into building materials. But the Odessa Imperial Society of Antiquities and History rose up in defense of the ancient monument.
After Belgorod-Dniester fortress lost the status of a military facility, the city authorities dismantled the internal structures. Surprisingly, the external walls survived. After the recognition of the Belgorod-Dniester fortress as an architectural monument in the adjacent territory, the first excavations of ancient Tyra began.
A new round of history
Unfortunately, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the main gate began to collapse, and the watchtower collapsed behind them (as a result of digging). The wall was located in a very deplorable state, located on the side of the estuary because of the washing out of clay from under the rock.At this time, repairs were carried out to restore the roof over the main gate, rotten beams were replaced and tiles were laid. But all these works were sporadic. From 1918 to 1940, the Belgorod-Dniester fortress continued its history as part of Romania. And in 1940, after the victory of the Red Army, the city became part of the Ukrainian Republic.
Description of Akkerman Fortress
A unique ancient complex deserves close attention. The fortress on the bank of the Dniester estuary amazes and delights with its inaccessibility and power. In due time for its construction local white limestone was used.
In the drawings, the plan of the fortress resembles an irregular polygon. The area of the Akkerman fortress is more than nine hectares. And the length of the walls is about 2.5 kilometers. It is difficult to imagine now, but at that time the thickness of the walls was laid from 1.5 to 5 meters, their height ranges from 5 to 15 meters.
From the north, the fortress is washed by the waters of the Dniester estuary, and on the other sides it is surrounded by a deep moat, once carved into the rock. Previously, it was filled with water.The width of the moat was fourteen meters, and the depth was 20.
The walls of the fortress are decorated with 34 towers. They all have different heights and differ in purpose. Some of them were hollow inside and were used as living quarters. Some towers even have their own names associated with ancient legends: The Commandant, the Treasury, the Dungeon, the tower of Pushkin and Ovid.
From the side of the city, you can get to the fortress through the Kiliya (Main) gate. They were the most important object during the defense. Once there was even a drawbridge here, there were gates, and at the top there were holes for pouring out hot tar or boiling water.
Inner territory of the fortress
The courtyard of the fortress was divided by defensive walls into separate four courtyards. This was done for the reason that each yard had its own purpose. Each of them could withstand a siege.
The civil court was supposed to protect the population during the siege. It had the largest area, about five hectares. In those days, residential buildings were located in the courtyard. Currently, the highest Watchtower tower is located on a hill, as well as the remains of a Turkish mosque, which was erected on the ruins of an ancient Christian church.
The garrison yard had an area of about two hectares. On its territory there were barracks, stables and ammunition depots. It was possible to get here only through special gates, which were equipped with a special protection system. Currently, there is a ring road at this gate.
Economic and port yards were intended for trade and warehousing, but, unfortunately, they were completely destroyed.
The most mysterious and old structure of the fortress is the citadel. Four towers were built at its corners; their initial height reached five meters, the walls were five meters thick. The courtyard is quite small, its area is not more than 300 square meters.
The commandant tower served as a headquarters for the commandant, his guard was immediately located there, the city treasury was preserved and gunpowder warehouses were located. The citadel, in fact, had a perimeter defense and was an impregnable castle in the castle.
Currently, the fortress is considered a historical monument and attracts a lot of tourists. Despite the turbulent history and frequent alterations, it retained its original appearance.
Address Belgorod-Dniester fortress: Ukraine, Odessa region, the city of Belgorod-Dniester. Every year, a youth music festival is held on its territory, as well as knightly battles are held.
For many years, restoration work was carried out in the fortress. To the ancient complex has always been an increased interest. Not paid attention to the fortress and filmmakers. Thirty paintings were shot on its territory: “Ships storming the bastion”, “Othello”, “Expensive price”, “Eagle Island”, “Nicks for memory”, “Salty dog”, “Legend of Siyavush”, “Fiery roads”, "Captain Nemo", "Knight's Castle", "Musketeers thirty years later", "Desert" and many others.
Akkerman fortress in Ukraine is shrouded in mystery and legends. One of them concerns the tower, located at the main gate. She is called "Maiden." Regarding the origin of this name there is a legend that the Moldovan governor had a beautiful daughter. But at the same time she had a tough character. She gathered a squad for herself, and in the absence of her father, who often went on hikes, the soldiers robbed and robbed people in the neighborhood. Once the girl Tamara asked her father for money for the temple.But she built not a temple at all, but a powerful fortress, settled there with her minions and named herself an independent queen. About the robberies and fires that prevailed in the district, the news spread far beyond the Dniester and the Danube. When Alexander Dobry returned from another campaign and found out the whole truth about his daughter, he stormed her fortress and dealt with the robbers. And he cursed Tamara herself. But as soon as she heard his words, she immediately fell asleep. The sleeping girl was placed in a tower and immured in her walls. Since then, the tower became known as the "Maiden."
Another implication regarding the same structure is associated with the name of the famous Roman poet Ovid. He is the author of such works as Metamorphosis and The Science of Love. The second work caused a storm of indignation in Augustus, who saw in the writings a threat to the morality of Roman society. Already in old age, Ovid was exiled to the city of Lower Moesia. But there is a legend that in the eighth year of our era the disgraced poet arrived in Tira. He was incredibly kind and completely harmless.
In memory of Ovid, the estuary is called Ovidovo Lake. And on its east coast, directly opposite the fortress, there is the village of Ovidiopol, which means Ovid city.In honor of the poet, one of the towers of the fortress is named after him.
Opposite the tower of Ovid there is a tower of Pushkin. This building has such a big name by right, since the great poet really was in the city. Many of the freedom-loving works of Pushkin caused a revolutionary protest. For this reason he was exiled by decree of the sovereign Alexander Pavlovich to the southern regions of Russia. About three years of exile the poet spent in Chisinau and then went to Odessa. It was during this period that he visited Akkerman, about which there are historical documents. In Belogorod-Dniester poet stayed only three days, he visited the fortress. It was here that he visited the idea of creating messages to Ovid.
How to get to the city?
If you are going to visit Belgorod-Dniester, then the question will certainly arise how to get there. The city is located only 90 kilometers from Odessa. The road by taxi takes about half an hour. The best is the bus number 560. Buses depart from the train station in Odessa every ten minutes.
If you plan to see the fortress, then you will need at least 3-5 hours to walk.Therefore, it is worth to stock up on food and drinks. On the territory of the fortress there are only stalls selling chips and beer.
Instead of an afterword
The Akkerman fortress is an amazing ancient structure, shrouded in mystery and legends, which is interesting to see with my own eyes. The complex has a difficult history. Many centuries have passed, but the fortress still towers on the bank of the estuary and amazes the guests of the city with its power. After all, even now it is possible to judge how it was once a fortification, until it lost its direct purpose - to serve as protection for the city. And now the fortress only reminds of past times and is an outstanding historical monument.