Explore the Historical Mysteries of Chufut–Kale
Chufut-Kale is located in the western region of Ukraine, in Crimea, near the town of Bahchisaray and is not only a historical attraction in Ukraine but also has a significant Jewish heritage. Dating as far back as the tenth century, Chufut-Kale and its few remaining buildings have survived as a monument to the past, a reminder of forgotten communities and is one of the most visited attractions in Crimea.
Getting to the ruins of Chufut-Kale does force visitors to partake in a moderate hiking expedition to get to the entrance of the cave on the side of the mountain. This ancient fortress gets its name from the Turkish language and means “Jewish Fortress”. For the most part of its existence Chufut-Kale was home to mainly Karaim and Jewish communities. Looking at what remains of the fortress it is hard to imagine that is was a flourishing town once that was inhabited by approximately five thousand people.
The strong fortress walls and the cobble stone paths have survived well over the centuries, but few of the outside buildings remain. Chufut-Kale was under the rule of the Turkish between 1475 and 1783, but before then it is documented that the rulers of the town were the Khazars during the ninth and the tenth centuries, and it is believed that the Karaites lived here before the invasion of the Mongols that took place in the thirteenth century. During and after the Crimean War, families and members of the community started to move away from Chufut-Kale, leaving it virtually abandoned. Fortunately, A. Firkovich gathered as many documents as he possibly could, preserving the history of his amazing town.
Some of the attractions at Chufut-Kale are the ruins of the Kenesa, the cemetery where inscriptions date back to 1203, the 1346 mosque that was the first built here and the mausoleum of Dzhanika-Khanym. The Chufut-Kale fortress and deserted town is worth the visit, as it is an important part of the heritage of Ukraine and provides an insightful look at the rulers and invaders that once roamed this picturesque area. There are also many legends and myths in regard to Chufut-Kale, which gives it a unique feeling and offers visitors the opportunity to make fascinating discoveries.