Image - The Chufut-Kaleh settlement. Image - The Chufut-Kaleh settlement.

Chufut-Kaleh (Чуфут-Кале; Hebrew for city). One of the largest cave settlements in the Crimea, built by the descendants of the Alans in the 5th–6th century AD. In 1299 the town was captured by the Tatars and was given the name Kyrk-Er. In the 14th century the Karaites settled there and turned the town into a manufacturing and trade center. Under the Crimean Khanate captured military leaders were imprisoned there. The name Chufut-Kaleh dates back to the 16th century. In the mid-19th century the Karaites moved to Bakhchysarai, and the town was abandoned and fell into ruin. In the older, western part, the town's wall and arched gate, numerous cave dwellings, the ruins of a mosque, a Tatar mausoleum (1437) and two Karaite temples have been preserved. A mint that produced silver Tatar coins was located in the eastern part. The town's ruins are now part of the Bakhchysarai Historical and Archeological Museum.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

Image - The Chufut-Kaleh settlement. Image - The Karaite temple in Chufut-Kaleh. Image - The Karaite temples in Chufut-Kaleh.

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