Join date: Jan 26, 2022

Fortress at the Genoese Gazaria

Genoese trading posts and trading towns on the Crimean coast began to appear in the XIII century. In the first quarter of the XIV century, the Italians received Kerch (Cherkio, or Vosporo), in 1357 — Balaclava (Cembalo), then bought Feodosia (Kafa) from the nomads, and Sudak (Soldaya) was taken from the Venetians in 1365. The rest of the land was ceded to the Genoese under an agreement with the Tatars.

All the Crimean territories where Italians lived were called Genoese Gazaria, centered in a Cafe, where a fortress was also built to protect against the Venetians and Tatars.

Genoese fortresses were built in the form of two rings of walls. Behind the first ring were workers' houses and workshops, and behind the second wall (citadel) was the consul's house, administrative buildings, warehouses with particularly important foods and, possibly, the homes of the nobility. Despite the huge area - almost 30 hectares, the Genoese fortress in Sudak was almost impregnable due to its location. It was built on the Genevez-Kaya Mountain (Fortress Mountain) with a height of 157 meters. By its origin, the mountain is an ancient petrified coral reef and is a gently sloping massif from the north and steep from the south, which juts into Sudak Bay. The height of the fortress walls reached six, and in some places eight meters, their thickness was one and a half to two meters. The height of the towers reached up to 15 meters.

The walls were crowned with battlements that reliably protected the garrison from shelling. In the outer defense belt of the fortress there were 14 towers on the Fortress Hill and one in the port area. Twelve of them still tower above the walls, one stands alone, and only the foundations of two remain. In the inner defensive line - the citadel - there are four more towers and the castle of St. Elijah. The citadel was especially well fortified. Its walls and towers were located on a high rocky part of the Fortress Mountain. The main node of defense was the castle, it seemed to complete the citadel from the east.

Three gates led to the fortress, only the Main ones have survived to this day. The walls of the fortifications and towers are made of local material: grey limestone, sandstone and shell rock. The nature of the masonry suggests that the fortress was built mainly by local masons. In the water supply system of the fortress, the law of communicating vessels was used: perhaps water was supplied to the city through pipes by gravity from a source on Mount Pepper (it is higher than the Fortress Mountain), and then distributed throughout the city. The mosque remains the only well-preserved architectural structure on the territory of the fortress.

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the victorious Turks turned their eyes to the Crimea. On May 31, 1475, an Ottoman squadron approached its shores, the siege of Kafa began, and on June 6, a large garrison of a powerful fortress capitulated. After Kafa, Soldaia and other Genoese possessions in the Crimea fell.

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