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Cave cities: history, description and interesting facts

Even in a person far from history, when it comes to cave cities, interest is aroused, because at once something unusual and mysterious appears. The most ancient buildings, the reports of which appeared about a thousand years ago, are enveloped in legends and secrets.

Invalid term

It was believed that our ancestors lived in caves, which served as a home and a place of worship for spirits. However, scientists do not agree with this opinion, since the buildings were located on the ground, and not under it. Until now, these buildings have not survived, and all that we have left are caves that were intended for religious rites and domestic needs.

In the XIX century, archaeologists discovered ancient monuments, which because of an erroneous assumption were called "cave cities". Monasteries, small settlements or fortresses were their main part, which allowed considering this term conditional, because people did not live underground. However, this definition is firmly entrenched in the deserted buildings erected on steep rocks.

Museum Complexes in Crimea

We know cave treasures in Jordan, Turkey, Iran, China, Spain, France, Italy and other countries. Unusually-looking natural formations draw the attention of tourists from different corners of our planet by their mystery, because it is not known who the nameless masters who carved this masterpieces were in stone.

However, in the Crimea, which for many centuries there were different civilizations, cave cities that are real museum complexes under the open sky have been preserved. The center of unique buildings is Bakhchisaray, and tourists who dream of touching the mystery are starting from this city. In the whole history of existence, the statuses of the mysterious buildings of past epochs and the ethnic composition of the inhabitants have changed, and their unique talent unites those who at the cost of tremendous labor created stunning stone works. It is known that historical monuments even became centers of regions, near which were important trade routes.

Ancient monuments

Cave cities of Crimea, carved into the rocks, to primitive people have nothing to do, and many researchers believe that ancient monuments appeared during the reign of the Byzantine Empire. Although other scientists who disagree with this version, declare that the history of settlements can not be reduced to a pattern, and they originated in different epochs. The inhabitants of such cities can not be called warriors, since their main occupations were trade and agriculture, although in case of danger they could take up arms. It is believed that in decline the cave cities abandoned by the inhabitants came after the Tatar-Mongol invasion in the XIII century.


Situated on the mountain plateau of Babadag, a unique place with incredible energy was inhabited by people until the 15th century, when the Turks captured it. Scientists do not have a common opinion about the time of the local sights. The largest cave city in Crimea Mangup-Kale, once called Doros, was the ancient capital of the powerful principality of Theodoro. The first mention of an unusual settlement dates back to the I century BC.

Located near Bakhchisarai impregnable fortress, carved into the rock, really was a real city with industrial production, prison, mint, princely residence, Christian churches and other buildings. Now tourists see only the ruins of a huge ancient settlement, in which about 150 thousand people lived. Gloomy caves, in which the wind whistles, beckon guests of the Crimea, heard about the amazing energy of this place. Here there are neon glowing balls hovering over the site and dissolving in the air, and the Tibetan lama who visited Bakhchisaray, assures that he feels the powerful power of the ancient monument.


Discontinued its existence around the 14th century, the cave city of Eski-Kermen was one of the largest and most developed. At the top of the mountain, about 400 caves were hollowed out, which were used as living quarters and warehouses for household needs. Later, the inhabitants of the fort built ground structures and surrounded them with defensive walls. In the heart of the city was the main temple, the ruins of which can still be seen. In addition to it, there were other religious buildings, and the Three Horsemen's temple, where wall murals survived, deserves special attention.

Located a few kilometers from the village of Red Poppy Complex, whose name translates as "old fortress", enthralls all visitors. Here, there are ruins of land structures, casemates, a necropolis, a granary, a well 30 meters deep. Tourists look with regret at the premises, which were cut down in the mountain, suffered from the time.

It can be said that Eski-Kermen, lying in ruins, is a real cave kingdom that provides its guests with a variety of underground structures that it is impossible to get to know in one day. Often defensive towers were built along fortress walls, and here nature itself contributed to the protection of people and created rocky capes that protrude beyond the plateau.

Scientists suggest that the medieval cave settlement was erected by Byzantines, but nobody knows the time and reason for his death. Perhaps it was destroyed by Mongolian soldiers.


The main defensive center of Byzantium recognized the cave city of Chufut-Kale, the exact date of its occurrence is not established. It is known that the Tatars captured it at the end of the 13th century, and two centuries later the fortress was the first capital of the Crimean Khanate. Here they held in captivity the rich people, for whom they asked for ransom. It is known that among the prisoners there were Russian ambassadors and a Polish hetman who fought against the Cossacks, long-standing enemies of the Crimean Tatars, but even this circumstance did not help him. Khan Hadji-Giray did not divide anyone into allies and opponents and demanded ransom for everyone. But the Russian governor Sheremetev, for whom Kazan and Astrakhan asked for nothing, spent almost 20 years in the fortress walls.

When the Tatars left the city, it was inhabited by Karaites engaged in dressing the skin. In the afternoon they traded in Bakhchisaray, and from evening to morning guarded Chufut-Kale. New residents have built another wall, resulting in the cave city increased in size. Now he was divided into two parts, and each could independently keep the defense. It was during this period that it received its name, which translates as a "double fortress", a historical monument. During the reign of Anna Ioanovna, Russian soldiers who captured Bakhchisaray destroyed the cave complex.

Surprisingly, in the very center of Chufut-Kale, the first printing house in the Crimea was built, which began its work in 1731. Inside the city, festive services were arranged, for which believers gathered, here those who violated the moral standards of the community were tried.


When it comes to cave cities, one can not fail to mention one of the most mysterious monuments of our history. An ancient fortress, reminiscent of an uninhabited island, appeared in the VI century. The defensive structure, hollowed out in the rock, is not so easy to destroy as the land constructions. The cave town of Tepe-Kermen, which was compared to a giant altar rising above the valley, is visible from afar. About its size, scientists are judged on the remaining complexes, well preserved until our days.

This is the so-called dead city, the former name of which history has not preserved. From the 11th to the 13th century the settlement flourished, which became the major center of the Kacha river valley, but already in the XIV century, because of the constant attacks of the Tatars, life here is dying out, and the only inhabitants were monks who left the fortress in several decades.

Archaeologists have discovered more than 250 artificial caves, differing in form and purpose. In them there were both funerary complexes, and economic warehouses. By the way, many rooms reached six storeys, and it was possible to get to the upper floors only from the mountain plateau, and in the lower ones cattle were kept.

Riddles of an ancient building

Many caves were closed with doors made of wood and divided by partitions into several rooms. Scientists have discovered an unusual religious structure, stretched from the north to the south, and not along the axis, as is customary for Christians. But the most interesting is that unknown architects cut through a window with a secret: on Easter days the light falls so that the outline of the cross appears on the wall.

Surprising and menhir, reminiscent of the shape of a sundial, which, according to researchers, lurks all the strength and power of the ruined ancient city.

Multi-storey complex Vardzia

Not only the Crimea can boast of unique sights, the visit of which excites the imagination. In Georgia, Vardzia is located - the cave town of Queen Tamara, considered a tourist Mecca. Appeared about eight centuries ago, it is hewn in a mountain monolith. And this is a multi-storey complex, inside which there are streets, stairs, tunnels. Six hundred rooms are connected by secret passages, extending to the height of the eight-story house and into the rock by 50 meters.

The city, which accommodates up to 20 thousand people, also fulfilled a spiritual function, because it was also a monastery, in the center of which architects carved the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin. In the religious building fragments of fine frescos created in the XII century were preserved. There is a legend that says that Queen Tamara is buried here.

When Vardzia suffered from the earthquake, the cave city ceased to be an impregnable fortress, and after the Mongol invasion fell into decay. Today, the historical monument is declared a museum-preserve.

Touching the world of ancestors

The cave towns that store numerous secrets can be compared in their historical significance with medieval castles. Visiting ancient buildings and touching the world of our ancestors will not leave anyone indifferent. Many wish to learn the secrets of the most curious sights and plunge into past eras, and those who have already visited architectural complexes admit that they received unforgettable impressions.

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