Eski-Kermen – A Magnificent Reminder of the Past
“Not far from Mankopia is a certain very ancient fortress and town, but it does not have any name from the Turks or Tatars, not even from the Greeks themselves, because of its extreme antiquity…” These are the words that were written down in the sixteenth century by Marinus Broniovius and refer to the majestic site of Eski-Kermen. The Tartars decided to named it Eski-Kermen, which means “The Old Fortress”, recognizing the significance of the site.
Eski-Kermen lies amongst the picturesque landscapes of the Crimean district of Bakhchisaraysky, in Ukraine. The region boasts majestic mountains and breathtaking views. The site of Eski-Kermen covers approximately eight hectares and is a forgotten village that carved its existence in Ukraine from rock and stone. It is believed that the construction of this rock settlement began at the end of the sixth century, and continued to be restored and extended until its final destruction during the fourteenth century. As an attraction in Ukraine, Eski-Kermen is historical, beautiful and fascinating.
The fortress and all its fortifications were built by the Byzantines, but fell under the rule of the Khazars from the eighth century until approximately the tenth century, when the Byzantine were once again the rulers of Eski-Kermen. During the period that followed, the settlement grew in size and structures until the invasion of the thirteenth and the fourteenth century, which led to its demise. What can still be seen today are the crypts, graves and tombs that are located in the cemetery, the main gate, cattle sheds, bed rock pits for grain storage, the siege well, cave churches, gate-house, the Kye-Kule fortress, watch complex and ruins of what were once living quarters. The Kye-Kule fortress is very well-preserved, although it is not easily accessible, as it is located on the other side of the canyon.
Eski-Kermen is one of the greatest historical attractions in Ukraine, as it is evidence of the heritage and past generations of the country. The construction skills and engineering feats performed by these villagers have left behind a history that every Ukrainian can be proud of. It is most definitely a site that visitors should walk through, not only because of the beauty that surrounds it, but the magnificence of the structures that still remain. With a little imagination, the settlement will come to life and transport visitors back into the sixth century.