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ABOUT RUSSIA / GEOGRAPHY AND NATURE / PEARLS OF RUSSIA / KELEMITA FORTRESS


Pearls of Russia

Cultural heritage

The "Kalamita" Fortress

The fortress "Kalamita" is near Sevastopol, in the city of "Belokamesk" (previously known as "Incerman"). High above a road, on a plateau of Monastic rock, rests ancient fortifications, and in the lower rock formations rests a quite visible Christian cave monastery. It is an historical branch - archeological reserve of Khersonesus - a "Kalamita Fortress".
Kalamita is one of many interesting monuments of the Crimean middle ages. From the southwest the fortress is protected by breakages, from the northeast cut in a rock, a wall consisting of three towers with five two-story rectangular half-towers and one round tower with a travel gate. The area protected by fortress walls makes up 1500 square meters.
Kalamita was built in the 6th century. Most likely, the fortress was built for protection of the trade routes, which started from the steppes of Crimea in Khersonesus.
Later, in the heyday of the southwest, it was the Tavrika feudal principality of Feodoro (in 15th century the Russian and West European sources called it Mangupskoe). In the mouth of the Black river the trade port Avlita developed. In 1427 for its protection, the Mangup prince Aleksey reconstructed the fortress.
In 1475 principality Feodoro fell victim to Turkish invasions. Aspiring to strengthen their coastal positions at the Black and Azov Seas, Turkish conquerors erected new fortresses and reconstructed the old ones. They reconstructed Kalamita for the use of fire-arms. They owned Kalamita up to the end with the Kuchuk - Kainardzhiyskiy peace contract (1774). The Turkish had renamed the fortress Incerman, which means "cave fortress". The name was not chosen randomly: the rock, on which this fortress is constructed, is cut up into numerous caves. One of them had military usage, others were used as economic, religious and even inhabited premises.
In the Kalamita territory at different times excavations were carried out, but the monument still stands awaiting more researchers. In the bottom part of the Monastic rock and near it the structures were kept intact. (8th-9th century). Here stands a Christian monastery which has existed more than thousand years.
When Byzantian emperors aspired to break the economic power of church due to struggles in their own country, icons (beautiful Russian paintings) were kept in these cave monasteries - which were in the remote areas of the empire. By the end of the 18th century, Inkerman's monastery had become desolated, but in middle of the 19th century it was restored. In this period additional churches were built in this area. The monastery stopped functioning in 1926, but now its activities have reappeared. There are two churches cut out of rock. One of them is based in basilica in the form of an early Christian temple. There are fragments of fresco remaining to be seen. The second church, named St. Martin, was cut nearby. In 1867 the church was restored. Burial vaults are to be found in the floors and walls and a steep ladder made of rock reaches from the monastery to the fortress area. Here stands a monument to the 25th gunnery division on ancient grounds wherein there were severe battles with fascists took place.



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