Derbent - the oldest city in Russia
• Derbent - the oldest city in Russia
Of the old Russian city of Derbent in the world known not so much, although its history goes back at least five thousand years. Derbent over Delhi, Istanbul, Tehran ... Located on the edge of the land between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains in the Republic of Dagestan, the city is considered the southernmost in Russia.
Derbent was one of the largest cities of the medieval Eastern Europe and the different unique structure. The city is built on a narrow coastal strip, whose width is less than three kilometers away, and shielded by two defensive walls stretching for 40 kilometers. The first mention of the city historians find in Hecataeus of Miletus in the VI century BC. e., the ancient Greek historian, calls the city "Caspian Gates".
For centuries Derbent was a frontier town, because it is located between Eurasia and the Middle East to the Caspian route. Through Derbent and ran the Great Silk Road. The treasury of the city has long been filled by taxes levied on merchants. The very name of the town goes back etymologically to the phrase "closed gates".
Derbent was tempting prey for various empires over the centuries, so around the city is always boiled war. The first settlement on the site of modern Derbent was Iranian, it emerged in the first millennium BC. e. The modern name of the city appeared in the VI century, when the city was in the possession of the Sassanid dynasty. In this period were built two massive walls, which stretch from the mountains to the sea, their height was about 12 meters, and width - about 3 meters, and they were at a distance of 300-400 meters from each other. Old Derbent was built between these two walls. All that today is abroad these walls - later construction. Crowned by the defensive construction of the Naryn-Kala, the old citadel, built on a hill near the sea.
The fortress Naryn-Kala - the main attraction of Derbent.
In 651, the Derbent moved to Arab ownership, was renamed in the Bab al-Abvab and became part of the Caliphate in the Caucasus. In this period it was built the oldest date Juma Mosque. In the IX century the city's population was more than 50 thousand people, it was a major military and political center. After the Arab Caliphate, the region was taken over by the Armenians, it was not until the XIII century until Derbent is not conquered by the Mongols. Over the following centuries the city belonged to the Iranians and the Ottomans. And only in the XIX century, after the Russian-Persian war of Derbent in Dagestan together with part it was annexed to the Russian Empire.
Today, the main attraction of Derbent are the remaining part of its defensive walls. Fortunately, the fortifications are well preserved and have survived several watchtowers that are a reminder of the terrible history of the city, serves as a "closed gates".
Derbent bird's-eye view.
A street in Derbent.
The narrow streets of Derbent.