Fortress Aluston. Lower tower
|44 ° 40′20 ″ s w. 34 ° 24′43 ″ c. d. H G I O L|
|A country||Russia Ukraine|
|First mention||VI century|
An object of cultural heritage of the peoples of the Russian Federation of federal significance. Reg. No. 911540360500006 (EGROKN). Object number 8230005000 (Wikigid database)
Monument to the cultural heritage of Ukraine of national importance. Ohr No. 010004-N
|Wikimedia Commons Media Files|
Aluston - Byzantine (later - Genoese) fortress in Crimea, a monument of architecture, now located in the center of Alushta. The ruins of the fortress became one of the main attractions of the city. In the Russian Federation, which controls the disputed territory of Crimea, it is an object of cultural heritage of federal significance, in Ukraine - a monument of cultural heritage of national importance.
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Aluston Fortress was built in the VI century by order of Justinian I. It is mentioned by the Byzantine historian of the time of Justinian Procopius of Caesarea in the famous treatise "On Buildings". As the historian testifies, in Aluston a garrison of Ostrogoth Federates was stationed, serving in the service of the Byzantine emperor. Warriors controlled the coastal navigation of ships and kept order in the vicinity.
Aluston was located 200 meters from the sea on top of a 44-meter hill. The line of the walls of Aluston was an irregular quadrangle. At the junction of curtains, 3 towers were erected: Ashaga-Kule (“Lower Tower”), preserved in the city center to this day, Orta-Kule (“Middle Tower”) and completely destroyed Chatal-Kule (“Horned Tower”).
Although in Byzantine times the fortress occupied only 0.25 hectares, it is considered one of the most powerfully fortified Byzantine structures in the Northern Black Sea region. The thickness of the walls of Aluston reached 2-3 meters and a height of 9.5 meters. If you look closely at the masonry, then you can notice voids in it. There were wooden logs in them. They performed not only a connecting function, but also served as a kind of shock absorber during earthquakes.
By the end of the 7th century, Aluston was abandoned by the Byzantines. These difficult years for Byzantium, the burden of economic and political adversity: plague epidemics, long wars with Persians and Arabs led to the depletion of the empire's human resources. Moreover, around the middle of the 7th century, part of the Eastern Crimea fell under the rule of the Khazar Khaganate. A new “Khazar” stage begins in the history of Aluston. By the second half of the 10th century, the area of fortification doubled and amounted to 0.5 hectares. The population of Aluston was Christian, as evidenced by the presence on the territory of the citadel of a Christian church, built in the VIII century.
In the X century, after the fall of the Khazar Khaganate, Aluston was destroyed, possibly by the Pechenegs. Its decline began. But since the XII century, after stabilization of the situation on the peninsula, Aluston has experienced a new heyday. The total area of the settlement increased to 3 hectares, two-story houses created a close network of city blocks.
In 1381-1382, the Genoese bought from the Crimean Khan a section of the coast from Sudak to Balaklava, including Aluston (Lusta). A new stage has begun in the history of the fortress. Alushta becomes the trading factor of “Captain Gothia”, its population increases to 1-1.5 thousand people. In the second half of the 15th century, a new line of defense was erected around Aluston with 3 towers on the northern and eastern flanks.
In June 1475, Italian possessions in Crimea were attacked by the Turkish fleet. Aluston was also attacked. Archaeological research has shown that the city died from a fire, after which the Aluston fortress was no longer restored.
At the end of the 19th century, it was restored by the philanthropist N.D. Stakhaev, since the lower tower was threatening to collapse by that time.
Historical ancestress of Alushta
The fortress is one of the oldest defensive structures on the peninsula. It was built in the VI century AD as an outpost of the Byzantines in the northeast of the peninsula. With the help of this powerful structure, the Byzantines planned to control trade in the east of the Northern Black Sea Coast.
In detail, Aluston describes in his historical treatise the famous Byzantine Procopius of Caesarea. The work was called "On Buildings." At different times, the Byzantines, Khazars, and Genoese became the owners of a powerful building. Each time with the advent of new owners, the fortress expanded and strengthened. When the Khazars came to power, the territory was increased to half a hectare. Numerous houses were built, the walls were well fortified.
Initially, the area on which the fortress was located was a quarter hectare. The distance to the sea was only 200 m. The height of the 2-3-meter walls was 9.5 meters. Subsequently, the territory was renewed by the Genoese. They erected three tower buildings on the flanks, updated the defense line. By this time, the area of the fort was already 3 hectares.
Interestingly enough, the three towers erected almost at the same time had different shapes - hexagonal, square and round. According to their layout, the walls made an irregular triangle with these corner towers:
- Chatal Kul - “horned”,
- Orta Kule - “average”,
- Ashaga-Kule - "lower."
The steep, steep slopes of the ramparts themselves were a good defense. Therefore, at the junction of the western and southern curtain walls, the tower was not erected. The round corner tower, the best preserved, is now visible even from the promenade.
The fort collapsed several times, suffering from raids and hostilities. The construction suffered the most in 1475. During the assault by Turkish ships, the fort was almost completely burned. They did not begin to rebuild the building this time.
Why is it worth visiting the Aluston Fortress?
When visiting Aluston Fortress, you can stroll among the ruins, see how much the Lower Tower has been preserved. Ashaga-Kule was restored at the end of the XIX century at the expense of the well-known patron ND Stakheev in certain circles. Almost all excursion programs include visiting this particular part of the fortress.
Strong masonry reminds of the former greatness of the defensive structure. If you look closely, you can see the voids in which the logs were previously laid. Such links not only united the frame, but also served as confident shock absorbers during earthquakes.
Such places are true keepers of the memory of past centuries. And people who understand the value of such attractions must try to visit them. Independent visit to the facility is free, photo and video shooting is allowed.
Walking in the Aluston fortress is one of the most popular excursion routes on the South Coast. The street on which the remains of the defensive structure are located can also be called legendary. Previously, in honor of the fortress and the events of many centuries ago, it was called Genoese. When the city was liberated from the invaders in April 1944, the street was renamed April 15th Street.
Having examined the ruins of an ancient fortress, you can visit other Alushta sights:
- Mount Castell
- Alushta aquarium,
- Cottage "Dove",
- Beketov's house-museum,
- water park "Almond Grove",
- Stacheev’s cottage,
- City Museum of Local Lore,
- Theodore Stratilates Church,
- Soter Valley
- Shmelev literary museum.
And if the ancient fortress of Aluston leaves an indelible impression on your soul, you can visit other similar structures, which are numerous throughout the peninsula.
How to get to Aluston Fortress
By bus you can get from Simferopol to Alushta. On Gorky Street you will need to take a walk in the direction of the embankment. Having reached the street April 15th, it’s worth using a sign that will help you get directly to your destination. On the street Volodarsky, among many private houses, you can look at the remains of the Middle Tower.
Arriving in your own car, you can use the GPS coordinates N 44.672224 E 34.411933.
For its long biography, the citadel belonged to the Byzantines, Khazars and Genoese. Each time, the new owners expanded and strengthened the defenses.
By its appearance, the fortress of Aluston in Crimea is obliged to the ruler of Byzantium, Justinian I. Since the VI century. AD she reliably protected the state from the encroachments of nomads, and her garrison kept order on the sea and the surrounding area.
From the middle of the VII century, the Khazars already owned fortification. At the same time, a large number of the population remained adherents of the Christian faith. Proof of this are fragments of the temple dating from the VIII century.
In the X century. Crimean Aluston could not withstand the onslaught of nomadic tribes (according to the assumptions of historians, these were Pechenegs) and was almost completely destroyed. The next stage of its existence began in the 12th century.
In the 80s. XIV century the land where the fortification stood was bought from the Crimean Khan by natives of Genoa. During their rule, the number of local residents increased (to about 1.5 thousand) and the area of the protected area increased.
A fatal fall occurred in 1475. The fort was stormed by Turkish ships, and it was ruthlessly burned. Unfortunately, they did not restore more fortifications.
What is the main Alushta fortress?
Initially, Aluston fortress stood on a quarter hectare on a high hill of 44 m. The distance to the coast was 200 meters.
The powerful walls, extending into the sky at 9.5 m, 2 - 3 m thick, in plan looked like an irregular quadrangle with three corner towers (“Kule”): Lower (“Ashaga-Kule”), Medium (“Orta-Kule” "), Horned (" Chatal-Kul ").
The increase in the area of the ancient city of Aluston
In the Khazar period, the protected area increased to half a hectare. The walls were strengthened and small houses were erected. Later, the fort area reached 3 hectares, and the buildings inside were already two-story.
The last transformation was carried out by the Genoese. They updated the line of defense and put on the flanks of the north and east three more tower structures.
The oldest attraction in Alushta today
Until now, sections of walls that have been fragmented have survived and restored at the end of the 19th century at the expense of philanthropist N.D. Stakheev tower Ashaga-Kule. The Lower Tower is best preserved, so excursion programs include visiting this particular part of the fortification.
We offer you to watch a video about Aluston fortress:
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The glorious past of Aluston
The first mention of the Aluston fortress dates back to the 6th century AD. The Byzantine Procopius of Caesarea in the historical treatise "On buildings" describes that, at the behest of Emperor Justinian the First (527-565), two fortifications were founded on the Crimean shores - Aluston and Gorzuvity. According to the historian, a garrison of ready-federates lived in Aluston, faithfully serving the Byzantine emperor. The soldiers controlled the navigation of merchant ships, ensured order on the ground.
A little time passed, and in the middle of the seventh century the Khazar tribes pressed the Byzantines on the Crimean peninsula. Aluston fortress was under the rule of the Khazar Khaganate. The Khazars increased the fortress area by 2 times, strengthened the walls, built small houses on the territory. At the same time, the bulk of the population remained Christians, the remains of the Byzantine temple clearly indicate this.
But the Khazar Khaganate fell. In the tenth century, the fortress of Aluston was devastated and destroyed by nomads, presumably Pechenegs. A new era of prosperity begins with the XII century, Aluston is experiencing another birth. The area of the outpost is expanding to three hectares, houses are already being built two-story.
Another key event in the life of the outpost is the sale agreement. In 1382, the Genoese bought a section of the coastline from Sudak to Balakalava, including Aluston (in the Italian manner - Lusta). Active settlement of the surroundings began, up to one and a half thousand people live here. An additional line of defense is being built around Aluston. Three new sentinel towers are being installed on the eastern and northern outskirts.
Unfortunately, during the Turkish attack on the Crimean peninsula in 1475, the town of Lusta died from a fire, and the fortress was destroyed. Aluston did not recover anymore.
Sad present fortress
Proximity to the sea played a cruel joke with Aluston Fortress. Now the territory is densely built up by the private sector. Well preserved only the Ashag Kule tower. Yes, the remains of masonry can be seen under the fences of the houses. Nevertheless, from the promenade of Alushta, you can go to the object according to the signs. Therefore, if you relax in the resort and you have free time, be sure to walk to the tower, feel the merging of eras.
Take a look at the masonry. In places there are voids in it. Logs were laid here. They carried a double load: they formed the skeleton of the structure and served as a shock absorber in earthquakes. The absence of embrasures at the 1st and 2nd floors prove that this building was from the first millennium, then there was no need to leave embrasures for artillery pieces.
Video review of the fortress:
To get the most complete picture of the appearance of the medieval fortress of Aluston, the lifestyle of the local population, get acquainted with the exposition of the Alushta Museum of History and Local Lore. His address:
Alushta, Lenina, 8. Telephone for information: 3 (6560) 2-57-39. Opening hours: all days of the week except Tuesday.
Near modern Alushta, in the Demerdzhi valley, there is another medieval fortress - Funa. It has been preserved much better; there is a plaster model of fortification on the territory. If you are interested in the history of the Crimean peninsula, then be sure to go there with a guided tour.