The Eski Kermen is a medieval picturesque cave town located in the southwestern part of Crimean peninsula, about 14 km to the south of Bakhchisaray city of Crimea.
The name Eski-Kermen means “Old Fortress” in Tatar language.
Eski Kermen was built by Byzantine residents in the late 6th century.
It lies on the top of a mountain and is popular for having more than 300 caves. These caves provided shelter and protection to the inhabitants from enemies. Over the centuries, these cave houses became so large that could even host hundreds of persons.
Religion was important to these people. They had temples and churches and frescoes depicting Christ and Virgin Mary.
The caves town were inhabited till the arrival of Mongols in 13th century. Due to its mountainous terrain it was difficult to be conquered so it was the last terrain that Mongols conquered. Eski Kermen finally ceased to exist in 1299, when it was almost completely destroyed by Mongol troops.
The caves were abandoned for a short period while neighboring villages began to use them for commercial purposes. Nowadays it attracts many hikers that choose this village for their mountain excursions.
How to get there. Take a bus from Bakhchysarai to the nearest villages: Holmovka, Zalesnoye or Krasny Mak. Then, you will have to walk to the mountain plateau.
Photos by Denis Frantsouzov.