The view on Sudak in Crimea
The town lies in a valley, surrounded by relatively low but picturesque mountains. Like whole Crimea, Sudak is a major sea resort. Tourists come there in the summertime searching for a clean sea and well-equipped beaches in small bays, hidden among magnificent mountains. Diving, horse riding, city tours and journeys to other places present various opportunities for tourists in Crimea. Although Sudak remains a tourist stronghold throughout the whole year, various landscapes and the rich history of the town, where every stone has a certain connection to the past, leave a lasting impression on every traveler.
The Sudak Bay
The history of Sudak as a part of Crimea
The history of Crimea and, particularly, Sudak was always marked by turbulent events. In ancient times this place was inhabited by the Tauri, whose origin has not been proved yet. Since they did not have a centralized state, only the remains of stone sepulchers and sanctuaries remind us about their existence. Roughly in the 7th century B.C. Greeks turned their attention to Crimea (back then it was called “Taurida” in honour of its indigenous people) and began to found their own colonies: Panticapaeum, Feodosiya and Chersonese. In order to protect their ships from the Tauri raids, Greeks built a fortress in one of the Sudak bays in the 1st century B.C. This archaeological monument has survived to the present day.
The most ancient archaeological finds in the outskirts of Sudak (4 c. B.C. – 4 c. A.D.)
Sudak was firstly mentioned in the chronicles of Greek monks. According to these records, the town was founded in 212 under the name of “Sugdea”. Supposedly, it was founded by Alans, who were the ancestors of modern Ossetians and came from northeastern steppes. This moment is a starting point in the history of Sudak, which often fell into the hands of various peoples and states, like whole Crimea.
The remains of the most ancient fortress (Greeks)
From the 6th to the 7th century the Crimean coast was subject to the Byzantine Empire. The descendants from Byzantium converted Crimeans to Christianity. They built churches and monasteries on the slopes of mountains near springs and on the sea coast. Some ruins can be seen even today.
The remains of the Byzantine monastery 6-8 c. A.D.
One century later Crimea was seized by Khazars. These Turkic nomads conquered the whole peninsula, called Khazaria, and Sugdea became their administrative centre.
Later Sudak was being transferred from hand to hand and the Crimean territory could be controlled by different states at once. Despite frequent power shift, Sudak was constantly growing. By the 13th century it had become a large port and a centre of international trade. The Silk Road went through the town and caused the building of many trading houses. It became a meeting point for merchants from all over the world – Rus’, Western Europe, Northern Africa, Asia Minor, India and China.
Crimea was always a place, where west met east.
It was inhabited by various peoples – Greeks, Armenians, Tatarians, Russians, Italians… Italians from the developed city-state Genoa called Sudak “Soldaya” and had been controlling it for more than a century. During that time they built an impressing fortress with walls and towers on a mountain, which formed the western side of the Sudak bay.
There are no architectural analogues of the 14th century left in Europe.
However, the defense power of Genoese fortress did not save it from new attacks. In 1475, the town was ravaged by the Turkish army. Then the Crimean coast fell into the hands of the mighty Ottoman Empire, which had previously conquered Byzantium. Since then Sudak lost its former power. Turks made the neighbouring Caffa (nowadays Feodosia) the main trading port of the peninsula.
In the 18th century the Russo-Turkish War ended in Crimea becoming a part of the Russian Empire. Simferopol was chosen as the new capital of the peninsula, while Sudak remained a small town, surrounded by vineyards and thick gardens. Since the 19th century Russians, Ukrainians and Tatarians have been peacefully coexisting on the Crimean peninsula and so far nothing has changed.
The tragic events of the 20th century, including the Civil War and World War II, left deep wounds on the Crimean soil. However, modern Crimea is also full of people, who love their homeland and are willing to give their lives to protect it.
The inscription on the monument “To heroic avengers. 1941-1945”
The photos and text are by Ekaterina Galich