Akkerman Fortress aka Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi Castle (Аккерманская крепость)

Akkerman Fortress



Location: Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi Map
Constructed: 13th century


Description of Akkerman Fortress aka Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi Castle

Akkerman Fortress aka Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi Castle is a medieval citadel situated in Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi region of Ukraine. It was erected in the 13th century. Akkerman Fortress aka Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi Castle is located in the South West Ukraine. It was constructed in the 13th century during rule of Bulgarian Kingdom. Its fortifications were increased in the 15th century to defend these lands against Ottoman Turkish attacks. These improvements in military fortifications had only partial success. Eventually the citadel fell in 1484 to Turkish forces under command of Sultan Bayazid II. Akkerman Castle became the border fortress against Ukranian and Russian attacks. Several Cossack leaders attacked the castle and ravaged the surrounding lands including E. Dashkevich, G.Loboda, S. Palia, I. Pokotilo, I. Sirko and many others. The castle was transferred to the Russian Empire after the Treaty of Bucharest in 1812 forced Ottoman Empire to give up these lands. In 1832 Akkerman Fortress was abolished as a military stronghold due to its obsolete defences that could not catch up with evolving technology. At its height the citadel had 34 towers and bastions. Its walls measured a total length of 2.5 km.


Over its history, Belgorod-Dniester has changed many names, most of which mean "White City" - presumably from the color of the coast, full of white shells.

In ancient times, the ancient Greek city of Thira (Τύρας) existed on the site of the city. The Romans called the city of Alba Iulia, the Byzantines - Asprokastro (Ἀσπρόκαστρον) - "White Castle" and Mavrokastro (Μαυρόκαστρον) - "Black Castle". For some time the city was part of the Old Russian state called Belgorod. The Tatars of the Golden Horde named the city of Ak-Libo, but the Genoese, who rented the city from the Golden Horde for trade, called it Moncastro (ital. Moncastro), distorting the Greek name Mavrokastro. In the Moldavian Principality, the city received the name Chetatya Alba - "White Fortress". Ottoman Turks called it Akkerman - "White Fortress". After the annexation of Bessarabia by Romania (1918), the city was again called Cetate-Alba (roman. Cetatea Albă), which is translated from the Romanian (Moldavian) language as “White Fortress”. This name is official in Romanian and is currently in use. In the twentieth century, the city received the name Belgorod-Dniester (in Ukrainian - Bіlgorod-Dnistrovsky).


In the VI century BC e. the ancient Greek colonists from the city of Miletus founded the city of Thira. Thira occupied an advantageous geographical position and played an important role in the antique trade of the Northern Black Sea region. The remains of ancient Tyra are located under the Akkerman (Belgorod-Dniester) fortress, the fortress square and the streets adjacent to it, where the acropolis was located on an elevated and protected place. In the middle of the 1st century BC e. Geta destroyed the city.

In the middle of the 1st century AD e. the city was restored by the Romans, presumably during the reign of Nero, and later became part of the province of Lower Moesia. The city, renamed Alba Julia, returned to its former meaning. It is believed that the city died as a result of the Hun invasion of the last quarter of the 4th century.

Later, the Byzantines renamed the city, restored after the barbarian invasions, calling it a new name: Maurokastron (which means "Black Fortress").

Middle Ages
In the middle of the XI century, after the fall of the Armenian capital - the city of Ani - part of its inhabitants, having moved here, found the Armenian colony.

In the XIII century, the city was conquered by the Khan of the Golden Horde Berke and named Ak-Libo.

In the XIV century, the Genoese received a label for using the fortress as a fortified shopping center, which they called Moncastro - from the Greek name the cities of Tyra in late antiquity.

XV century
In the Moldavian Principality
In the XIV century, the fortress became part of the Moldavian Principality and the Genoese lost the right to use it. In the principality, the city was called Chetatya Alba. The center of the Chetat-Albek land (admin.ter. Unit).

In 1438-54, a fortress was built under the leadership of the master Fedork.

In the Ottoman Empire
In 1484, the Ottoman forces captured the castle, and the Ottomans began to develop land. In the Ottoman Empire received the name Akkerman (White Fortress).

XVI century
In 1503, the Ottomans finally established themselves in the city, calling it Akkerman.

In the XVI-XVII centuries, the fortress was repaired, and the outer moat was deepened.

XVIII century
During the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774, on September 25, 1770, Akkerman surrendered to the detachment of the foreman Baron O. A. Igelstrom. In 1774, according to the Kuchuk-Kainardzhi peace treaty of July 10 (21), 1774, returned to the Ottoman Empire.

During the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-1791, on September 30, 1789, Akkerman was occupied by a detachment of foreman M.I. Platov from the vanguard of the main corps of Prince General Field Marshal Prince G. A. Potemkin. The Turkish garrison was released into the city and the fortress of Izmail, and the fortress was occupied by the Trinity musketeer regiment. In 1791, according to the Iasi Peace Treaty on December 29, 1791 (January 9, 1792), the Ottoman Empire was returned.

XIX century
November 30, 1806, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-1812, Ackerman was occupied without firing troops under the command of the Duke de Richelieu from the Dniester Army, as the commandant of the fortress agreed to surrender it voluntarily. In 1811, Akkerman was assigned to the category of fortresses of the 3rd class. Under the Bucharest Peace Treaty of May 16, 1812, Akkerman became part of the Russian Empire. In 1813, according to the rules on the temporary structure of Bessarabia, its territory was divided into 9 cynos and Akkerman entered one of them.

By 1818, a new cynus was formed in Bessarabia - Akkermansky.

On April 29, 1818, Emperor Alexander I issued the Charter on the formation of the Bessarabian region, established public places in all parts of the administration. Ackerman became part of the region.

On September 25 (October 7), 1826, an agreement was signed between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire in Akkerman - the Akkerman Convention. The convention basically reaffirmed the terms of the Bucharest Peace Treaty and strengthened Russia's influence in the region. Turkey recognized the border along the Danube and the transition to Russia of Sukhum, Redut-Kale and Anakria. Turkey pledged to pay Russian citizens for all claims of the year and a half, to give Russian citizens the right to trade freely throughout Turkey, and to Russian merchant ships the right to freely sail in Turkish waters and along the Danube. Autonomy of the Danube principalities and Serbia was guaranteed, the rulers of Moldavia and Wallachia were to be appointed from local boyars and could not be removed without the consent of Russia.

On December 8 (20), 1827, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire Mahmoud II announced the cancellation of the Akkerman Convention, which served as one of the reasons for the start of the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829. After the war, the main provisions of the Akkerman Convention in an expanded form were included in the Adrianople Peace Treaty of 1829.


On February 29 (March 12), 1828, Emperor Nicholas I approved the "Institution for the Administration of the Bessarabian Region" instead of the 1818 Charter. The region lost its independence and was included in the Novorossiysk Governor General. In the course of administrative reforms, cynics were renamed into counties. Ackerman became a county town.

In 1832, Akkerman was excluded from the category of fortresses of the 3rd class.

In 1861, peasant reform was launched in the Bessarabian region, which lasted until 1875.

In 1873, the Bessarabian region was transformed into the Bessarabian province. Ackerman remained the county town of Ackerman County.

During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, the Modlin Infantry Regiment guarded the Black Sea coast near Akkerman.

According to the Encyclopedic Dictionary of F. A. Brockhaus and I. A. Efron, Akkerman (or Ak-Kerman, the white city) is the county town of Bessarabia, on the right bank of the Dniester estuary, 18 miles from the Black Sea; 41178 inhabitants lived. The city consisted of the main part and three posadas: Papush, Turlak and Shaba. There were 9 Orthodox churches, 2 other (“Gentile”) Christian churches, 3 synagogues, 10 public schools where 538 boys and 161 girls studied. There were a shelter and an almshouse from charitable institutions in the city. From educational institutions - 4-class male and female gymnasiums and a 2-class city school. Horticulture and gardening were very developed: "in the city there are 304 kitchen gardens and 2085 gardens." In the city there were 72 mills, 13 factories and 551 trade establishments, in addition, 3 pharmacies and a customs outpost. Bazaars are weekly. Once a year, from December 6 to 28 (according to the old style), the Nikolaev Fair was held. Trade items: salt, fish, lard, wool, and especially wine. The position of the city was “very convenient” in that the ships could leave it directly at sea, and, in addition, the city was not far from Odessa. The annual income of the city was 46,249 rubles, expenses 47,234 rubles; capital in credit institutions 20 415, in cash - 4101 rubles. 33. For Akkerman and Bender counties, one leader of the nobility. Communication with the city was by steamboats through the estuary.

Since October 1891, the Livonia 97th Infantry Regiment was stationed in the city.

In 1897, according to the census, 28,258 people lived in the county town of Akkerman in the Bessarabian province of the Russian Empire. The mother tongue was indicated: Ukrainian - 15 183, Russian - 5724, Jewish - 5573, Armenian - 608, Bulgarian - 288.

XX century
In 1904, the Livonia 97th Infantry Regiment departed east of the empire to participate in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. He participated in the battle of Mukden. The regiment never returned to the city.

The First World War, which began in 1914, led to the February Revolution of 1917, the October Revolution of 1917, the Civil War in Russia 1918-1923 and the loss of part of the territories by the new government.

On October 26 (November 8), 1917, in Petrograd, the Social Democrats deposed the Provisional Government of the Republic of Russia by the Bolsheviks. Throughout the country, in the Bessarabian province, in particular, revolutionary processes resumed with renewed vigor. In November, new Soviet pro-Bolshevik governing bodies of the Bessarabian province were formed, including in Akkerman. In November, the Executive Committee of the Bessarabian Provincial Council was elected, and J. D. Meleshin was elected chairman. (Councils), November 21 (December 4), in Chisinau, the governing body of the Sfatul Tsarii - Council of the Territory was created. On November 22, the Council recognized Soviet power.

However, the quiet course of life in the region began to interfere with political groups fighting for power in the country as a whole, in the outlying provinces, as well as riots in the rural areas of their province in particular. The course of the Central Council of the Ukrainian People’s Republic to secession from the Soviet Republic of Russia, which complicated political and economic relations with Petrograd, forced Sfatul Tsariy to accept on December 2 (15) a declaration proclaiming the formation of the Moldavian Democratic Republic, which was also sometimes called the Moldavian People’s Republic.