A week ago, with his family and a friend went to the amazing cave city: Eski-Kerman, located near Bakhchisarai, Crimea. Impressions — weight, photos — as well. I hope this article will give you the atmosphere in this mystical city.
Yes, I highly recommend corner of the Crimea to visit.
Eski-Kerman translated from Tatar as "the old fortress." He is both a wild, untouched by time, and a soft, home, so to speak. In contrast to Calais, in Soviet times turned into a large gift shop and place of the folk festivals, and Man-Gupalo, which does not stop feuding between the Greek masters the cave monasteries of monks informals, Sebastopol homeless and Tatars, Eski-Kerman never was not the object of mass tourism. However, visiting the Old Fortress in Soviet times was part of the sightseeing tours (there is still a marked trail: Cheltyr-Koba — Mangup Kale — Eski-Kerman), but visited the city basically conscious travelers, and not a "mattress", is causing serious damage ancient ruins. Farms, located at Eski, protected the fort from invasion by informal groups of villagers in caves and transforming discharge the same underground art gallery. In short, the Eski-Kerman escaped the destructive influence of modern civilization and came to us in its original form. This is probably why not bypass the Eski-Kerman attention filmmakers, the film was shot here, "Ninth Company" and filming took place the rock opera "The Star and Death of Joaquin Murieta" …
The first thing we saw, going to Eski-Kerman from the village of Red Poppy, this so-called "black archeologists", as rooks, squirming at the plow. Farm field, and on it wanders string of people with metal detectors and digging tools on their belts. Every now and then one of them stops and picks out something from the ground. Looking for arrowheads, spears, buttons, coins, bayonets during the Crimean War … The locals say that with a touch of "hunters" no big fights. Although their findings are usually nothing of value there, and artifacts collected in the fields suitable except that for flea markets, it still hurt when someone digs for money shamelessly to human remains. Although more reasonable approach which demonstrate some of the local archaeological enthusiasts here in a few years it is possible to gather a collection of antique weapons or ammunition soldier. In the very same cave cities are really valuable artifacts. But there, on the plateau, "pirates", thank God, did not agree well — too much. Eski-Kerman in the 30s unearthed archaeological expedition of the famous scientist NI Repnikova. Among the findings were, for example, thick-walled amphorae up to 30 cm amateur Although this may seem like a minor point, but such vessels are found only in the Crimea, and then only in very small numbers, and at auctions like amphora may be worth more than the gold ornaments of the same era.
Eski Kermenskoe plateau — one of the so-called "table" outliers high ridge of Crimean mountains, flat rock, steeply rising above the surrounding plain. Like the rest of the average range, Eski-Kerman consists of soft limestone, over millions of years, "ripen" from the remains of shellfish on the bottom of the Black Sea. By the way, sometimes in the roof of the caves you can see the remains of fossil shells. The softness of the rock and are often found in natural caves made Crimean mountains an ideal place to build a cave cities.
By the way, the term "mountain city" is not quite correct. Their inhabitants, contrary to popular belief, are not troglodytes, spend their lives underground. Residents lived in the cave town homes, usually double-decker. Just because the clay from which to make bricks in the mountains there. Houses were built of stone mined from the same rock. And so the void is not disappearing around, they ennobled, and used as outbuildings. Actually, the rocks are mainly defensive structures (no wall is not as strong as compared with whole rock) and the temples built by the monks, who did not have the strength and the means to build a church ground. But the land is not built withstood the test of time, and the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, which are also needed in the building material, have taken away the stones of ruins in their estates.
Eski-Kerman is located twenty kilometers from Bakhchisarai, near the village of Red Poppy. To the Red Poppy from Bakhchisarai walking bus, and then you need to get foot-six miles down a country road to the quarry and farms.
First of private property — Cossack farm. However, the Cossacks here quite peaceful — sticks and whips they do not. Engaged in horse breeding and organize excursions to cave cities. On the territory of the Cossack horse farm is a temple Donators — carved from the cliff top church, and next to it — the dogwood bushes and apple trees. The passage to the temple and dogwoods completely free. The only thing that saddens stay on the territory of the Cossacks — it is their horses involved shaped extortion. They are surrounded by a dense ring traveler and do not give a pass until they receive a handout. Feel better with backpacks heading to another farm — gate with the inscription "Eski-Kerman." However, they are not in the cave town, but right in the opposite direction. However, the farmer's holding will have to visit all the same: in the plateau there is no water, so if you go Eski-Kerman with an overnight stay, you need to stock up on water. The friendly hosts are not only supply water — as it turned out, a key and very tasty, and the offer to stay, to go fishing in the pond and have a beer.
On the way to the Eski-Kermen extreme sports enthusiasts may try to climb on the "Maiden Tower". Dev there he has never seen — it carried the watch patrols, warning soldiers of the defensive complex, located in the nearby rock of the approach of the enemy. Climb the tower will have to first on a rickety ladder, and then climb a rope fastened to the top of the masters of the manor. But climbing on the rock and looking around the tower, you can walk along the pristine pure juniper forest. And the path to climb the "northern gate" — one of the crevices in the rocks, on which you can climb to the plateau of ancient conquerors march steps stairs and enter the city …
The first impression of Eski-Kerman — this is not the ancient ruins and the bird kingdom. The trees — a flock of ravens (Corvus cells) with a remarkably intelligent individuals. Who knows, perhaps stories about Animagi — animals that moved the soul witches — these are not mere stories? .. Right on the path leading to the plateau, lying feathers and gnawed skeletons of pigeons. We obviously got into someone's hunting grounds. But the hunter turns himself — Lesser Kestrel (Tinnunculus cenchris), look out for nesting in crevices prey. Locals claim that the summer at Eski sometimes fly vultures and Pallid Harrier. But the gray owl (Strix aluco), another bird that is credited with magical properties, though we have not seen, but heard so clearly that because of her hooting could not sleep.
We go on the east side of the plateau to the main gate of Eski-Kerman, the southern entrance to the city, construction of which usually show the tourists. Before us is the square hole in the rock — it is nothing like the entrance to the famous siege well, through which Eski-Kerman penetrated invaders.
Once in the Crimea appeared Horde troops rich city became steppe tempting prey. For a long time, Eski-Kerman was impregnable. The winding road leading to the main gate of the city, next to reliably defended fortifications. After going through the first gate, under a rock, uninvited guests found themselves in the crossfire of the two towers. The so-called "gate" — the narrow cleft in the rocks, which you can climb to the plateau — also were protected. The city was surrounded by strong walls, and it supplied the water carved through the entire thickness of the rock pit, fed from sources hitters at the foot of the plateau. There are still roomy granaries, allows residents to the Old Fortress withstand a long siege.
Nomads were brave warriors, but totally unfit to hold a long siege. Warriors eager production and fights. And when, instead of exciting the massacre of defenseless citizens, they were forced to sit at the walls, showering the enemy with arrows, massacre began inside the army. And with a violent temper steppe could not control no leader. Nogai hordes would have to leave empty-handed, but has helped human baseness. Among the inhabitants of the surrounding villages a traitor, which showed where the well closest to the rock wall. At night, the invaders broke through a hole in the wall of the well and killing the guard, seized the main gate. The city was deserted. Those who passed the sword of Tatars, was forced to leave the city — in the Eski-Kermen was no more water …
We go down into the well. My companion has steadfastly refused to go there to climb. Take away his coffer with the equipment and begin to understand his reluctance to dive into the story. Climb on the rock falls from the ladder dangling box — not a pleasant one. Still on all fours overcome six flights of stairs. Punched a hole through the invaders seen the foot of the plateau. Next there is no way — the last flight of stairs could not stand the burden of centuries. We photograph well — and back to the sun.
We examine the "standard" Eski attractions — the ruins of the basilica, casemates, cave church, workplace garbage tax, levied at the entrance to the city — it is interesting that the cave customs officer survived best. Indeed, money and taxes are eternal. And wheeled down the road to the ponds where the trail begins at the next point of our expedition — the rock monastery Shuldan.
Here the reader has the right to be indignant, but where are the descriptions of the city — all its caves, temples and towers? And it just will not happen. What for? After all, it described a hundred times. And, most importantly, anyone can visit the Eski-Kermen and see with your own eyes.