Ermak Travel Guide

 

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Derbent

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Location: Republic of Dagestan Map

 

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Description of Derbent

 

The first settlement on this location date back to the first millennium BC. Despite it seemingly isolated location the city actually was a major center of trade between China and the Mediterranean Basin. Derbent safe guarded so called North Passage of the Great Silk Road that went North across the Caucasian mountains and around Caspian Sea. In the time of wars, rebellions and general unrest steppes of the South Russia and Kazakhstan with its violent, but sparsely populated nomads became the preferred route. In the 5th century AD Sassanids erected the defensive walls those purpose was to control the North passage as well as to keep northern tribes away. Charging caravans obviously made them a fortune.

 

Two walls run East of the city for 3.6 km (2 miles) to the Caspian Sea at 300- 400 m apart. To the West the walls reached 40 km (25 miles). Despite its impressive structure the city was captured repeatedly for its obvious strategic position. It was held by the Persians, Arabs, Mongols, Timurids and many others. It held its prominent role in the economy until 19th century. As European colonialism spread the trading routes changed and the city lost its position in the region. Its impressive remains all that is left of its previous glory.

 

Narin- Kala (Нарын-Кала)

Image of Derbent 

Narin Kala or Naryn Kala Fortress is the main destination in the old part of Derbent. Over the past 5000 years this strategic mountain top was continuously occupied by different people who looked for refuge here. Its name can be translated as a "Sun Gate".
Much of military fortifications that you see today date back to the 6th century when medieval walls and towers replaced older citadel. Castle Narin Kala were built by the orders of Shah Kawada on top of Dzhalgankiy mountain range. It held a strategic location effectively locking one of the few entrances through Caucasian mountains. It was done to protect South Caucasian region and the Middle East against attacks of war like nomadic tribes that inhabited present day Southern Russia.

His work was continued by his son Shah Khosrau I. Perimeter of the Derbent castle stretch for over 40 km in total length surround a total area of 4.5 hectares. Wall thickness reached 3 meters and wall height up to 12 meters in addition to a natural cliffside. Additionally a fortified port was added to strengthen defenses on the Caspian side of Derbent to prevent circumvention of the city in shallow waters.

UNESCO recognized Narin Kala Castle as a monument of World importance. It is one of the few pre- Arab fortifications that survived in such state of preservation. Later additions were made up to 15th century. In addition to military fortifications Narin Kala contains ruins of baths, water cisterns, Christian church of the 5th century, Juma mosque (13- 19 centuries) and many other private and government buildings.

Baths

Image of Derbent

 

 

 

 

 


 

Transportation

 

 

Hotels, motels and where to sleep

 

 

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

 

 

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

 

 

Interesting information and useful tips

 

 

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