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Fortress Naryn-Kala, Derbent

Fortress Naryn-Kala, Derbent


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Naryn-Kala Fortress: the Defender on&nbspthe Silk Road

Naryn-Kala, the ancient fortress of Russia, was built on the shore of the Caspian Sea fifteen thousand years ago. This is the landmark of Derbent inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Citadel guarded the strategically important Derbent passage between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains and served as the most important outpost on one of the routes of the Silk Road.

The remains of the defensive walls of Naryn-Kala Fortress have been well preserved in the old part of Derbent. Two high walls stretched from the fortress far to the sea, serving as an external protection for the city and the port, where ships with goods had been arriving. The same walls stretched to the Caucasian Ridge for 40 kilometers, but almost nothing has remained from them. In addition to the walls, towers, gates and fortifications, several other buildings have been preserved in the territory of the fortress: the khan&rsquos baths, water tanks with silver impregnations, the underground Zindan prison and a cross-domed church of the V century, which later served as a temple of fire-worshipers and a mosque.

Serious restoration work was carried out in the Fortress Naryn-Kala in celebration of the 2000 anniversary of the city. Different points of the citadel offer views of Derbent and the Caspian Sea. You can buy an entrance ticket and walk around the fortress by yourself, but it is better to book an excursion.


In our page on Caucasia, we had noted that according to one interpretation of an inscription, the last Zoroastrian dynasty to rule Aryana/Iran-shahr, the Zoroastrian Sasanids (c.225-645 CE), called the frontier province at the junction of the Great Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea, Balasagan/Balasakan. One transcription of the inscription of King Shapur I (r. 241-272 CE) at Naqsh-e Rustam reads, "Balasagan ta fraz o Kaf-Kof ud Alanan bar/dar" meaning 'Balasagan up to the Caucasus Mts. and the Gate of the Alans'. The Gate of Alans may have been the city and its fortifications now called Derbent or Darband meaning 'closed-door' referring to a closed pass.

According to Erich Kettenhofen in 'Darband' at Iranica, "Neither Albania [the Greco-Roman name for Aran/Ardan] nor the city of Darband seems to have been conquered by the Romans in their struggle with the Parthians for hegemony in the Caucasus nor, despite claims in the Armenian sources, is Armenian influence recognizable in the region. Coins and architectural details are evidence of interaction with the Parthians. " "As attacks by northern peoples [Huns at the end of the 4th cent. CE] became more frequent, Darband came to be the most important bastion and the symbolic boundary between the nomadic and agrarian ways of life."


  • The structure which dates back to 300 AD is half-buried under the ground
  • Experts have proposed it was built to be a water tank, church or fire temple
  • Researchers are using muon tomography to image the building's buried exterior
  • Its cross shape, orientation and vaulted rooves support the idea it was a church

Published: 13:03 BST, 12 July 2019 | Updated: 13:33 BST, 12 July 2019

Nuclear physicists have claimed to have identified one of the oldest-known churches in the word using using cutting-edge scanning techniques.

The mysterious structure had been mostly buried underground, and is located within the confines of a medieval fortress in the Russian city of Derbent.

Experts had argued that the construction was a water tank, a church, or a fire temple — but the fortress' protected status prevented archaeological digs to investigate.

To get around this, researchers are using special detectors to study how subatomic particles called muons, created by cosmic rays, travel through the building.

This muon scanning technique allows researchers to reconstruct a 3D image of the subterranean building's exterior without needing to do any digging.

Although the researchers are planning a more detailed scan, the have already shown that the outside of the building was cross-shaped and orientated north-south.

These architectural features are consistent with the notion that the building was indeed a church — which would make it the earliest-known example in Russia.

Nuclear physicists have claimed to have identified one of the oldest-known churches in the word using using cutting-edge scanning techniques

WHAT IS MUON TOMOGRAPHY?

Muons are subatomic particles that are naturally created when cosmic rays interact with the Earth's atmosphere.

Every second one muon passes through the palm of your hand.

As muons pass through matter, they slow down and deflect from their original course.

By measuring the deflection of these particles, researchers can discern the nature of the objects the muons pass through.

From this data, they can also reconstruct three-dimensional images of the objects.

The underlying principle is somewhat similar to how CT scanners work in hospitals.

As muons can penetrate matter more deeply than X-rays, however, they are able to make images of thicker materials.

Muon detectors use a substance called 'nuclear emulsion', which works in an equivalent manner to a photographic plate.

The mysterious half-buried structure, long argued to be a water tank, is located within the walls of the medieval fortress of Naryn-Kala, in the city of Derbent in the Russian Republic of Dagestan and dates back to around 300 AD.

The building is almost completely buried underground, with only a fragment of its half-destroyed, wire-frame dome visible above ground.

Physicists led by Natalia Polukhina of the Russian Academy of Sciences tested a scanning technique called muon tomography — which is similar in principle to the CT scans used in hospitals — on the structure between May and September 2018.

The team placed several muon detectors in the mostly-buried building at depths of around 33 feet (10 metres) from the surface of the fortress' interior — with each containing 'nuclear emulsion', the muon equivalent of a photographic plate.

From the images collected by the emulsion, the researchers have been able to create a three-dimensional reconstruction of what the outside of the structure would have looked like before it was buried.

The cross-shaped building extends 49 ft (15 metres) from north to south and 44 ft (13 m) from west to east. Each arm of the cross is around 16 ft (5 m) wide and three are 14 ft (4 metres) long whereas the fourth is over 20 ft (6 metres) in length.


Derbent and Naryn-Kala

For 5000 years the fortress of Naryn-kala has embraced the city of Derbent with its own walls like hands of a mother protecting her child. Despite the excavation findings, not all scientists recognize the fortress’s age that boggles anyone’s imagination. In those ancient times, when the city was born, there were many things still to happen, like: building the Great Wall of China, Christ’s mission, and founding the eternal city of Rome. Derbent was already standing on the Great Silk Road though.

The fortress of Naryn-kala and many houses in the city are built of local coquina - a solid and weatherproof natural material that retains its color and does not moulder away for thousands of years. It is still a popular building and facing material nowadays. Rakushechnik is the layering of countless tiny skeletons and shells of sea animals having been pressed into limestone for millions of years.

The Citadel was repeatedly rebuilt and restored, following numerous attempts to conquer it. Over the years, builders have changed the methods of bricklaying and the composition of the mortar bonding the blocks. Archaeologists and restorers have calculated ten different ways of bricklaying in the walls of the fortress. But the size of the blocks themselves have remained unchanged: 1 m in length, 70-80 cm in width and 25-30 cm in thickness. Truly speaking, the blocks of the oldest part of the wall were of arbitrary size they were cut and adjusted to each other right on the construction site. Later, they began to add decorations - carved details.

Naryn-kala is built on a high hill. Two parallel walls are stretching from the fortress wall down to the sea, encircling the residential part of the city. They are clearly visible from the beach, as well as from the mountains. Remains of the ancient walls stretching up to the mountains are also extant.

It is noteworthy that the remnants of a water pipe that supplied water from mountain springs and worked on the principle of communicating vessels has remained in the fortress territory. Water would come to the designated storage, and in case of a siege it would suffice the entire city for several months. The lore of the 7th century has it that an army of Arabs came to Derbent and assaulted the fortress. After failure, the cunning military commanders captured a local resident and tortured him until the latter disclosed the location of the water pipe in the mountains. The commanders ordered to slaughter more than a hundred sheep letting their blood into the trunks. The water got addled, and in three days the fortress inhabitants themselves opened the gates to the enemy.

Another miracle of the citadel is the Christian temple of the epoch of the Caucasian Albanian state, built in a cross-domed style and dating back to the 4th-5th centuries AD. Due to non-standard thinking, in 1971 a young archaeologist Alexander Kudryavtsev made this discovery, comparable for world culture with the discovery of Troy by Henry Schliemann. In fact, Kudryavtsev discovered the earliest Christian church ever founded on the territory of modern Russia. Prior to this discovery, the most ancient believed Christian temple was Thaba-Erdy, built in 8th -9th centuries in Ingushetia.

The level of cultural layers around the temple in Naryn-Kala reached almost 90 meters at the time of its discovery. No wonder that earlier the structure was considered a well due to this fact. It is easily believed while standing on the wall of the temple and looking down into the building (you can experience that during the tour). In fact, the building, certainly erected on the surface, gradually went underground over the years. The discovery of Kudryavtsev impressed the whole intellectual world, and the Naryn-kala fortress was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Apart from this Christian church, there are also a mosque and a synagogue in Derbent, which are oldest in Russia. Today it is a city hosting three religions with followers respecting each other's faith, living peacefully and treating their fellowmen with benevolence.

Kaleidoscope of the city names:

  • The Byzantines called it Tzur or Tsur, the Alban Gate, the Gate of Choga
  • Syrians –Thoraye Gate
  • Georgians- Dzgvis-Kari (Sea gate), Darubandi
  • Armenians – Pahak (guard) Jora, Hunnic gate, Zuar Gate, Khonsk gate, Khonskaya Fortress
  • Тurks– Temir-Kapysy or Temir-Kapy (Iron Gate)
  • Arabs – Bab al-Abwab (Main Gate, Gate of Gate), Bab-al-Hadid (iron gate), Bab Alban (Alban Gate), Sed Alban (Albanian Walls), and al-Bab (Gate) at times
  • Russians – Iron gate, Derben
  • Derbent means “The locked gate” in Persian

Who were the ancient masters of the fortress?

Just stating that Derbent has a successful geographical position would be a very modest description. This coastal town protected by mountains and fortress walls was of strategic importance in the ancient world. It was a constant target for conquerors seeking to occupy a dominant position. The city was destroyed many times, including all of its population. Nevertheless, Derbent would resurrect every time, and people would populate it again and again.

Most of the fate of the city became known through the discoveries by archaeologists who found traces of a settlement dating back to the 4th-3rd millennium BC! On the territory of Naryn-kala, there were inscriptions found in Pahlavi and Albanian languages, as well as ceramics, items out of bone, stone and metal, ornaments and ancient arms.

For comparison, let us refer to the event that took place almost the same time, about five thousand years ago: the Egyptian king Menes united about twenty city-states, as a result of which Egypt gained its statehood. Later, the citadel was destroyed and rebuilt in the same place 15 centuries ago. Today we see the same Naryn-kala that witnessed the heyday of the Persian kingdom.

Derbent is a real treasure of our country - a city where history rests. It is the city where one gets inspired to think about the eternal.


[:RU]Fortress Naryn-Kala[:]

[:RU]What do you think, where is this castle? In which country?

And it is Russia. Let me tell you about it more …

Photo 2.

The most interesting is truly unique and is not similar to one known surviving urban strongholds, of course, the very fortress complex of Derbent. The main part of the system of fortifications — Naryn-Kala citadel (one of the translations of the name in Russian — «Solar Fortress»), built on a high spur Dzhalganskogo ridge in the VI century. Powerful three-meter thick walls, limiting the area of ​​4.5 hectares, composed of two rows of well-crafted stone blocks with a filling of ragged stone and mortar. Have the same structure and parallel walls of the city, north of earlier construction, and south, built later. Both walls have numerous towers. Once these walls went far out to sea, preventing the circumvention of the city through the shallow water and creating a comfortable and well-protected harbor.

Photo 3.

Interesting monuments of antiquity expressive evidence of the city, located in the northwestern part of the citadel Naryn-Kala. This underground structure, in terms of cross-shaped cross vaults and ceilings, has long been considered carved into the rock reservoir. However, a careful archaeological study allowed the researchers to determine that before them — cross-domed Christian church built on the ground in V., And then buried powerful millennial cultural layers. According to historians, Derbent to the middle of the VI. was a Christian center of the Caucasus.

In the southern and northern walls of the city, there are several gates, of which the most interesting and most architecturally exhaust are the gates of the southern wall — Horta-kala (Middle Gate). For many centuries, walls, towers and gates repeatedly repaired. Architectural details in the treatment of upper walls and towers and gate openings reflect different periods of architecture and building art.

Photo 4.

Prominent among the city’s attractions occupy facilities for the storage and use of water, which for almost any city-fortress was almost a priority. The water comes from springs on the mountainside Dzhalgan, according to numerous discovered during the excavation of stone and ceramic water pipes went to several underground reservoirs, including a fit for this purpose, an old Christian church. In Derbent also preserved several ancient fountains from which residents take water and to this day, in particular — Haibulah (Khan source) Dgiarchi-Bulakh (Source messenger) and others.

Interesting and preserved in ancient baths. One of them — in the central elevated part of the citadel. This underground structure-vaulted dome design of the XVII century, with several rooms for hot and cold offices and undressing, with tanks for hot and cold water.

From the height of the citadel is a beautiful view of the city. Among the flat roof, as if cut by cracks crooked streets, towering domes of mosques, which in quite a lot. They are reminiscent of the times of Arab rule. The biggest, beautiful and ancient mosque — Juma (VIII century).

Photo 5.

From the citadel also clearly seen vast ancient cemetery with Derbent numerous stone stelae and sarcophagi V-IX centuries, marking the burial place of many brave defenders who died at different times.

In the south-western corner of the ramparts of the citadel is a rectangular aperture, leading to a corner tower, through which was once the entrance to the mountain wall (Doug bars) begins just from this tower. At the moment preserved only small areas of the wall, but their study showed that it was a grand structure and a thickness of 3 to 10 meters in height, with numerous fortified forts, polufortami and rectangular towers. This powerful line of defense, writhing on solid mountain relief, goes deep into the Caucasus more than 40 kilometers.

Photo 6.

Derbent fortification built of large blocks of local limestone. Two rows of stone slabs form the outer facing wall, the space between them is filled with backfill with lime mortar. External facing blocks very well adjusted to each other and stacked without mortar. This gives them not only elegance and monumentality, but also affects the psyche of the beholder its firmness and inaccessibility. For a firm connection with the body facing blocks in masonry walls alternate plates stacked Spoons (wide wall outside) and poking (outside the narrow side — end), the inner plane which left untreated, while the outer surface of the well-dressed. Block size is fairly standard, and an average of up to 1 meter in length, 0.7-0.8 m wide and 0.25-0.3 m thick and does not correspond somewhat exaggerated reports of some Arab authors.

Photo 7.

Thus, according to Yacoub, «… it was built (ie, wall) of rectangular ashlar. One of these stones will not raise 50 people. These stones are placed one on another and are sewn to each other with iron bolts. » About mount stones walls with lead, iron shackles and iron bolts and inform other Arab authors, among them such authoritative as al-Istahri, Masudi, al-Gharnati, Ibn al-Faqih, Abdul-Abbas Tuzsky and others. Probably, here we are talking about the prevalence in those days the construction of fortifications without binding solutions, as detailed reports Al-Sabi. In stones make two holes in which to insert metal rods and filled with lead. This stone block was mounted on the other, in which hollowed deepening also poured molten lead. Bonded so the stone blocks were solid construction. The thickness of the walls of fortifications ranges from 2.3 to 3.8 m, although some authors have reported a considerable thickness of the walls. In Yacoub, for example, we read: «… … thickness of the wall is such that it will pass 20 riders (in a row), not crowded.» Adam Oleary, talking about Derbent walls, wrote that «… they could ride in a cart.» Some Arab authors report walls width of 300 cubits. However, this figure should be, according to Academician VV Barthold probably be attributed to the gap between the two city walls than their width.

Photo 8.

Preserved height of the walls reaches 10-12 meters, and in some places — 15-18 meters. Fortification many times rebuilt and restored. Specialists distinguish sharply up to ten different types of masonry, belonging to different periods and various construction-related schools. Preserving the ancient masonry is a huge custom chiselled to each other on-site units. Masonry later periods differ by more rigorous geometric blocks, the standard height of rows, horizontal seams, size and processing units. There are architectural details carved inserts, and so on. D. In the later laying notice and numerous attempts to imitate the ancient masonry.

Photo 9.

Numerous written sources of the city is mentioned under various names, sometimes identified with the name of the place name of the city. On the maps of Claudius Ptolemy (II century BC.) In the area marked by the city Geldiev (Dzhelda). Byzantine sources refer to it as «strengthening Tzor» (Tzur, Tzur), Albanian gates, Choga, Principality Choga great city Choga, Syrian — Caspian gates, Thoraya, Arab — Bab el-Abvab (main gate, gate gate), Bab el Hadid (Iron Gate), Bab Alban (Alban Gate), Sed Alban (Albanian walls), and sometimes al-Bab (gate). Turkish authors call Temir Temir kapysy or caps (iron gates) Georgian — Dzgvis kari (sea gate) Daruband Armenian — Jora, gates Jora, pahak (security) Jora, Pahak wall border fortress of Chora, Hun gates, Zuari, Hon gate Hon fortress Russian — Iron Gate, Derbenyov.

Photo 10.

In the historical chronicles and folklore of local peoples city is mentioned under the name Chulli (Darg.) Churul (varnish.). In addition, in some sources, the city is named al-Sul (wall), Tamura kagalga city Chorskogo passage, Great rock, Jolie, Sed Yadzhudzh-Majuj fortress Chora, the city at the gate of Chora, North Gate, Derbent gate and so on. D .

Beautiful mountainous country Dagestan sung by many poets, writers and artists. Its unforgettable landscapes, a kind of life, wonderful carpets, jewelry, ceramics and other products of its craftsmen who speak dozens of different languages, have always been viewed with admiration and amazement of all who at least somewhat familiar with this country.

Photo 11.

Of course, a very strong impression on every traveler and the city of Derbent, the oldest in Dagestan, and the whole of Russia. He is much older than age itself in our country, it is an ancient «Eternal City» of Rome and already existed in the world when on maps and there was no trace of modern states. Derbent — 5000 years.

«The city is located on the west coast of the Caspian Sea, where the mountains of the Caucasus almost come close to the shore, leaving only a narrow strip of coastal plain width of about three kilometers. Here in ancient times ran the famous Caspian way — the only convenient way from the steppes of South-Eastern Europe to the Middle East. In this way, in one of its most strategically important and geographically convenient places, there was the first settlement on the site of the present Derbent. »

This is where the rich and flourishing agricultural peoples of the Middle East «fenced off» powerful fortifications from devastating raids of nomadic tribes from the steppes of South-Eastern Europe.

The idea of ​​a giant dam wall large plot of land from the sea to the high mountains seemed to be fantastic if there was not the wall in front of us personally. The idea to do this when two such walls, arranging a cross between «town hall» — no less original, and it’s done. Finally, the mountain wall, stretching from the far west of the fortress in the Caucasus mountains, though, and can not be regarded as an exceptional invention, but it is comparable in importance to the Great Wall of China, however, at length and, unfortunately, worse preserved.

Photo 12.

At different times, many nations gave the city different names (there are more than twenty), but they are all associated with the word «gate». The name «Derbent» — Persian, dates VI century BC. e. and literally means «gate node», or «Castle Gate». Russian called this city «Derbenyov» or «Iron Gate».

Detailed description of the amazing city left many admiring observers of different ages, including the exiled writer here Decembrist AA Bestuzhev-Marly. City reminded him «a huge boa constrictor, which is under the scales of houses stretched from the mountains in the sun and picked up his head gear fortress Naryn and tail plays in the Caspian Sea.»

Durable masonry walls and towers stood for millennia assaults, is well preserved with a few exceptions to the present day, which gives today’s traveler the opportunity to mentally talk to his contemporaries long-extinct tribes and peoples.

Photo 13.

Based on reliable sources and research extant ancient fortifications of Derbent, it was concluded that the city was founded in the VI century BC. e. Persian kings Sasanian dynasty, and the «father of the city» was considered a famous king Khosrau I, fenced off for the first time in this place strong walls from the raids of the Khazars from the north. Thus, it was assumed that the age of the city is quite a solid number — almost 1,500 years.

But recently, in 1971, began in Derbent archaeological excavations gave a truly sensational results, indicating that these areas have seen a much more ancient.

Excavations revealed an ancient settlement, which arose at the turn of IV-III millennium BC, that is, five thousand years ago! On the territory of the now existing citadel were found remains of buildings, numerous items of work and life, agricultural implements and granaries, speaking here about the existence of one of the oldest farms are typical of the then Middle East and South-Eastern Europe. Found in archaeological excavations ancient fortifications with traces of fire and destruction, as well as tips Scythian bronze arrows, confirm that when the Scythians in the VIII-VII centuries. BC. e. made a trip to the Middle East, they have had to storm the well-fortified fortress of Derbent. Excavations have found came here at the turn of VIII-VII centuries. BC. e. powerful fortress with walls made of large stone quarry that existed with overhauls and repairs before the arrival of the Sassanids. Naryn-Kala citadel of VI century BC. e. was constructed on the remains of ancient masonry.

Photo 14.

In the III-I centuries BC. e. on the territory of present-day Azerbaijan and southern Dagestan emerged the state of Caucasian Albania, which included then Derbent. I-III century AD were the heyday of Derbent, as evidenced by the large number of imported products and jewelry from Syria, India and Egypt, found in the cemeteries of the time. During the construction have been used well-crafted stone with carvings, clay mortar, plaster. The appearance of the square turrets testified to the further development of the art of fortification.

In the middle of the III. n. e. Derbent was captured by the Persian king Shapur I, who «perpetrate destruction and conflagration.» However, under the rule of the Persians finally got only city in the IV. n. e., a new, important stage of building the most powerful fortifications began under Chosroes I Anushirvan (531-579).

«Construction of the complex was carried out of the Derbent in stages: first, the citadel and the northern wall of the city, then south wall, and later — Mountain wall (Dag-Bars). In the VI century was built and the first transverse wall separating settle in a part of Derbent in the citadel of uninhabited seaside (the other two transverse walls appeared in the X-XVIII centuries). » Reinforced construction of fortifications of Derbent occurred in conditions of constant instability caused by the emergence at the end of the IV. n. e. «The kingdom of the Huns», and then the Khazar Khaganate.

Photo 15.

In VI-VII centuries Derbent becomes developed in the medieval town, which has, in addition to military and defense values ​​sufficiently high level of socio-economic development.

Rallied by Islam warlike tribes of the Arabs established a powerful unified state — Arab Caliphate, the defeat in the end the Persian Sassanid power. Arabs immediately began to fight for the possession of Derbent and in the beginning of the VIII. finally wrested it from the Khazars. The famous Arab commander oil bin Abd al-Malik, the closest relative of the Arab caliphs, for fruitful construction activity is called by historians «second father» Derbent

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By the way, I have already talked about the oldest city in Russia.

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Unearthing the Mystery of Naryn- Kala

Derbent is claimed to be the oldest city in Russia that dates back to the 8th century BCE. It is located on the Caspian Sea, the north of Azerbaijani Border, and is the southernmost city in Russia renowned for its medieval Fortress, Naryn-Kala. Naryn-Kala is also a UNESCO world Heritage site.
Derbent was both traditionally and historically an Iranian city. Though Derbent was inhibited since the 8th century BCE, it was the Shah Yazdegerd II of the Persian Sasanian Empire who founded Derbent in 438 CE built it into a fortress city in order to curb the constant raids from the White Huns, Khazars and other nomadic tribes of Central Asia who constantly threatened the Persian Heartland. The imposing walls of Naryn-Kala kept it safe and it withstood numerous attacks for the next 300 years. However, Derbent evolved and prospered not just under the Persian rule but due to its strategic location on the Silk route and its geostrategic importance as the gateway to the Caucasus.
Under the Arab rule the Derbent flourished as the entry point to the silk route and to keep it safe the Arabs too constantly reinforced Derbent&rsquos walls and the citadel till the late 10th CE and also constructed the Juma Mosque which happens to be the oldest mosque in Russia. The mosque was built over the remains of an old Christian basilica.
Over a period of seven centuries Derbent prospered and changed hands from the Arabs to the Turks, to Azeris, the Mongols, the Timurids and back again to the Persian until they were defeated by the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Torches during the Ottoman- Safavid War.
There were also Jews, Georgians and Armenians who came and settled in Derbent giving the city a very cosmopolitan flavor during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Era.
Recently archeologists have unearthed and are probing the mysterious structure that was discovered buried in the northwestern part of the fortress of Naryn-Kala. It is a cross shaped structure which has been measured to be 36-foot-deep and is completely hidden underground but for the half destroyed dome on top.
As the structure is protected and cannot be excavated it is assumed that this structure could either have been some kind of a reservoir, a Christian church or a Zoroastrian fire temple. Using the method of muon radiography of the underground space the scientist have preliminarily concluded and according to the hypothesis of the archaeologists the building seems more likely to be that of a Christian Temple. If this gets confirmed than this building would be one of the oldest churches of the world.


One of the Oldest Churches ‘revealed’ Underneath Russia’s Naryn-Kala Fortress

Naryn-Kala fortress: Churches and crosses are the oldest symbol of Christianity that exist, some from the most ancient of times.

These buildings and icons, some many centuries old like Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, practically hum with the invisible breath of the faithful who once crossed the thresholds to pray and attend services presided over by priests.

To enter one of those ancient buildings is to sense the presence of the many congregations who came before, to worship, receive communion, and be consoled by the sacred scriptures read aloud each Sunday.

The unknown structure sits in the northwestern part of the fortress of Naryn-Kala

Now, tentative evidence of perhaps the world’s oldest church has been found deep under the ground in Russia, in a fortress called Naryn-Kala, localed in Derbent.

A new scientific study asserts that a building below ground, at an archaeological site that dates back to 300 A.D., may in fact be a church.

Archaeologists and scientists are examining a cross shaped structure using a celestial event called cosmic rays, which are a form of high energy radiation from an unidentified source outside of our solar system.

The team harnessed these rays to help them develop a clearer picture of just what it is that is below ground at the fortress.

Historians, past and present, have insisted one of the structures is a water storage tank, but the scientists involved in the current study are dubious about that conclusion.

Yet they have no definitive answers yet, either way. “Currently, there are more questions than answers,” acknowledged Natalia Polukhina, a physicist with the National University of Science and Technology in Russia and lead author of the study, published mid-May in the journal Applied Science.

Their chief aim when conducting the examination was finding out what the buildings beneath the fortress look like — how many there are, their shapes, and perhaps whether one is indeed a church. Those conclusions will take time.

View of the city from the citadel of Naryn-Kala, 1910s

They also wanted to utilize the research method that once revealed a potential hole in the Great Pyramid, in Egypt, in 2017. The method is called “muon radiography.”

Muons are the result of cosmic rays that break apart when they hit our planet’s surface. Muons travel at the speed of light, experts say, but begin to dismantle when they travel underground and hit an object.

Hence, if muons underground are measured accurately, that measurement can reveal much about what actually lies beneath the planet’s surface.

And it allows scientists to examine what rests there without having to invade, probe and disturb a site as culturally and historically important as the fortress, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Scientists are reasonably certain that, whatever the structures prove to ultimately be, one of them was not intended to be a water storage tank, though some experts think it may have been used as such in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Christopher Morris a fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the U.S., was duly impressed by his Russian colleagues’ study, and the findings.

He told the website Live Science that because of the team’s work, it is feasible to think they will soon know just what does lie beneath the citadel by recreating all the structures there in 3D. But whether they can prove there is a church?

Of that he is not as certain. “I do not know whether the structure is a church,” he acknowledged, but added that the work itself is exciting and rife with possibilities.

Like most scientific leaps forward, this study has led researchers to new insights, but also posed many new dilemmas.


Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress Buildings of Derbent

Shaki (Azerbaijani: Şəki until 1968 Nukha, Azerbaijani: Nuxa), sometimes written as Seki or Sheki, is a city in North-west Azerbaijan, in the rayon of the same name.

Shaki is situated in northern Azerbaijan on the southern part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, 325 km (200 miles) from Baku.The population of Shaki is 63,000
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According to the Azerbaijan Development Gateway, the name of the town goes back to the ethnonym of the Sakas, who reached the territory of modern day Azerbaijan in the 7th century B.C. and populated it for several centuries. In the medieval sources, the name of the town is found in various forms such as Sheke, Sheki, Shaka, Shakki, Shakne, Shaken, Shakkan, Shekin.

There are traces of the large-scale settlements in Shaki that date to more than 2700 years ago. The Sakas were an Iranian people that wandered from the north side of the Black Sea through Derbend passage and to the South Caucasus and from there to Asia Minor in the 7th century B.C. They occupied a good deal of the fertile lads in the South Caucasus in an area called Sakasena. The city of Shaki was one of the areas occupied by the Sakas. The original settlement dates back to the late Bronze Age.

Shaki was one of the biggest cities of the Albanian states in the 1st century. The main temple of the ancient Albanians was located there. The kingdom of Shaki was divided into 11 administrative provinces. Shaki had been one of the important political and economic cities before the Arab invasion. But as a result of the invasion, Shaki was annexed to the third emirate. An independent principality was established in tames of a weakened Arabian caliphate. She was also managed by Georgian Kingdom, Atabegs of Azerbaijan and Khwarezmid Empire before Mongol invasion. After the collapse of the Hulakis in the first half of the 14th century, Shaki gained independence immediately after the states of Shirvanshahs and the Orlat dynasty came into power. Shah Tahmasp put an end to the independence of Shaki in 1551 and annexed it to Safavid Iran except Ottoman administration between 1578-1603 and 1724-1735. Then the Shaki khanate was established in 1743, and was one of the strongest feudal states among the Caucasian khanates.
Caravanserai in Shaki
Caravanserai in Shaki

As a result of the flood in the river Kish, the city of Shaki was partially ruined and the population was resettled in the present day city. The Shaki khanate became a vassal of the Russian Empire in accordance with the second Kurekchay Treaty of 1805. The area was fully annexed by Russia by the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 and the khanate was abolished in 1819 and in its place the Shaki province was established.

During its history, the town was devastated many times and because of that, the oldest historic and architectural monuments currently preserved are dated to only the 16th-19th centuries. For many centuries, Shaki has been famous as the basic center of silkworm-breeding. Originally located on the left bank of the river Kish, the town sited lower down the hill, however Shaki was moved to its present location after a devastating flood in 1772 and became the capital of Shaki Khanate. As the new location was near the village of Nukha, the city became also known as Nukha, until 1960 when it reverted back to the name Shaki.

Shaki is famous for the 18th century Khan's palace and caravanserai. (wikipedia)

Persianate world | Wikipedia audio article

This is an audio version of the Wikipedia Article:

00:03:33 1 Etymology
00:05:52 2 Definition
00:10:59 3 In Persian literature
00:11:10 4 Background
00:16:49 5 Provinces and regions
00:17:58 5.1 Middle East
00:18:07 5.1.1 Bahrain
00:29:08 5.1.2 Iraq
00:38:08 5.2 Kurdistan
00:39:00 5.3 Caucasus
00:39:08 5.3.1 North Caucasus
00:40:06 5.3.2 South Caucasus
00:44:42 5.4 Central Asia
00:46:46 5.4.1 Tajikistan
00:47:43 5.4.2 Turkmenistan
00:48:34 5.4.3 Uzbekistan
00:49:29 5.4.4 Xinjiang
00:49:56 5.5 South Asia
00:50:05 5.5.1 Afghanistan
00:51:06 5.5.2 Pakistan
00:51:58 6 Historical and modern maps of Iran
00:52:10 7 Treaties

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Speaking Rate: 0.7402539370857543
Voice name: en-US-Wavenet-C

I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.
- Socrates

SUMMARY
=======
Greater Iran (Persian: ایران بزرگ‎, Irān-e Bozorg) is a term used to refer to the regions of the Caucasus, West Asia, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia that have significant Iranian cultural influence due to having been either long historically ruled by the various imperial dynasties of the Iranian Empire (such as those of the Medes, Achaemenids, Parthians, Sasanians, Samanids, Safavids, and Afsharids and the Qajars), having considerable aspects of Persian culture due to extensive contact with the various imperial dynasties of Iran (e.g., those regions and peoples in the North Caucasus that were not under direct Iranian rule), or are simply nowadays still inhabited by a significant amount of Iranian peoples who patronize their respective cultures (as it goes for the western parts of South Asia, Bahrain and Tajikistan). It roughly corresponds to the territory on the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains. The Encyclopædia Iranica uses the term Iranian Cultural Continent for this region.The term Greater Iran is not limited to the modern state of Iran, but includes all the territory ruled by the Iranians throughout the history, including Mesopotamia, Eastern Anatolia, all of the Caucasus and Central Asia. The concept of Greater Iran has its source in the history of the Achaemenid Empire in Persis (modern day Pars region), and overlaps to a certain extent with the history of Iran.
In recent centuries, Iran lost many of the territories conquered under the Safavid and Qajar dynasties, including Iraq to the Ottomans (via the Treaty of Amasya in 1555 and the Treaty of Zuhab in 1639), western Afghanistan to the British (via the Treaty of Paris in 1857 and the MacMahon Arbitration in 1905), and all its Caucasus territories to Russia during the Russo-Persian Wars in the course of the 19th century. The Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 resulted in Iran ceding Dagestan, Georgia, and most of Azerbaijan to Russia. The Turkmanchey Treaty of 1828 decisively ended centuries of Iranian control of its Caucasian provinces, and made Iran cede what is present-day Armenia, the remainder of Azerbaijan and Igdir (eastern Turkey), and set the modern boundary along the Aras River.On the Nowruz of 1935, the endonym Iran was adopted as the official international name of Persia by its ruler Reza Shah Pahlavi. However, in 1959, the government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Reza Shah Pahlavi's son, announced that both Persia and Iran could officially be used interchangeably.

Greater Persia | Wikipedia audio article

This is an audio version of the Wikipedia Article:
Greater Persia

Listening is a more natural way of learning, when compared to reading. Written language only began at around 3200 BC, but spoken language has existed long ago.

Learning by listening is a great way to:
- increases imagination and understanding
- improves your listening skills
- improves your own spoken accent
- learn while on the move
- reduce eye strain

Now learn the vast amount of general knowledge available on Wikipedia through audio (audio article). You could even learn subconsciously by playing the audio while you are sleeping! If you are planning to listen a lot, you could try using a bone conduction headphone, or a standard speaker instead of an earphone.

You can find other Wikipedia audio articles too at:

You can upload your own Wikipedia articles through:

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
- Socrates

SUMMARY
=======
Greater Iran (Persian: ایران بزرگ‎, Irān-e Bozorg) is a term used to refer to the regions of the Caucasus, West Asia, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia that have significant Iranian cultural influence due to having been either long historically ruled by the various imperial dynasties of Persian Empire (such as those of the Medes, Achaemenids, Parthians, Sassanians, Samanids, Safavids, and Afsharids and the Qajars), having considerable aspects of Persian culture due to extensive contact with the various imperial dynasties of Iran (e.g., those regions and peoples in the North Caucasus that were not under direct Iranian rule), or are simply nowadays still inhabited by a significant amount of Iranic peoples who patronize their respective cultures (as it goes for the western parts of South Asia, Bahrain and Tajikistan). It roughly corresponds to the territory on the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains. The Encyclopædia Iranica uses the term Iranian Cultural Continent for this region.The term Greater Iran is not limited to the modern state of Iran, but includes all the territory ruled by the Iranians throughout the history, including Mesopotamia, Eastern Anatolia, all of the Caucasus and Central Asia. The concept of Greater Iran has its source in the history of the Achaemenid Empire in Persis (modern day Pars region), and overlaps to a certain extent with the history of Iran.
In recent centuries, Iran lost many of the territories conquered under the Safavid and Qajar dynasties, including Iraq to the Ottomans (via the Treaty of Amasya in 1555 and the Treaty of Zuhab in 1639), western Afghanistan to the British (via the Treaty of Paris in 1857 and the MacMahon Arbitration in 1905), and all its Caucasus territories to Russia during the Russo-Persian Wars in the course of the 19th century. The Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 resulted in Iran ceding Dagestan, Georgia, and most of Azerbaijan to Russia. The Turkmanchey Treaty of 1828 decisively ended centuries of Iranian control of its Caucasian provinces, and made Iran cede what is present-day Armenia, the remainder of Azerbaijan and Igdir (eastern Turkey), and set the modern boundary along the Aras River.On the Nowruz of 1935, the endonym Iran was adopted as the official international name of Persia by its ruler Reza Shah Pahlavi. However, in 1959, the government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Reza Shah Pahlavi's son, announced that both Persia and Iran could officially be used interchangeably.

Sasanian Empire | Wikipedia audio article

This is an audio version of the Wikipedia Article:
Sasanian Empire

Listening is a more natural way of learning, when compared to reading. Written language only began at around 3200 BC, but spoken language has existed long ago.

Learning by listening is a great way to:
- increases imagination and understanding
- improves your listening skills
- improves your own spoken accent
- learn while on the move
- reduce eye strain

Now learn the vast amount of general knowledge available on Wikipedia through audio (audio article). You could even learn subconsciously by playing the audio while you are sleeping! If you are planning to listen a lot, you could try using a bone conduction headphone, or a standard speaker instead of an earphone.

You can find other Wikipedia audio articles too at:

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The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
- Socrates

SUMMARY
=======
The Sasanian Empire (), also known as the Sassanian, Sasanid, Sassanid or Neo-Persian Empire (known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr, or Iran, in Middle Persian), was the last kingdom of the Persian Empire before the rise of Islam, and was named after the House of Sasan it ruled from 224 to 651 AD. The Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire and was recognised as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighbouring arch-rival the Roman-Byzantine Empire for a period of more than 400 years.The Sasanian Empire was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Parthian Empire and the defeat of the last Arsacid king, Artabanus V. At its greatest extent, the Sasanian Empire encompassed all of today's Iran, Iraq, Eastern Arabia (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatif, Qatar, UAE), the Levant (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan), the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan), Egypt, large parts of Turkey, much of Central Asia (Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), Yemen and Pakistan. According to a legend, the vexilloid of the Sasanian Empire was the Derafsh Kaviani.The Sasanian Empire during Late Antiquity is considered to have been one of Iran's most important and influential historical periods and constituted the last great Iranian empire before the Muslim conquest and the adoption of Islam. In many ways, the Sasanian period witnessed the peak of ancient Iranian civilisation. The Sasanians' cultural influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe, Africa, China and India. It played a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asian medieval art. Much of what later became known as Islamic culture in art, architecture, music and other subject matter was transferred from the Sasanians throughout the Muslim world.

Greater Iran | Wikipedia audio article

This is an audio version of the Wikipedia Article:
Greater Iran

Listening is a more natural way of learning, when compared to reading. Written language only began at around 3200 BC, but spoken language has existed long ago.

Learning by listening is a great way to:
- increases imagination and understanding
- improves your listening skills
- improves your own spoken accent
- learn while on the move
- reduce eye strain

Now learn the vast amount of general knowledge available on Wikipedia through audio (audio article). You could even learn subconsciously by playing the audio while you are sleeping! If you are planning to listen a lot, you could try using a bone conduction headphone, or a standard speaker instead of an earphone.

You can find other Wikipedia audio articles too at:

You can upload your own Wikipedia articles through:

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
- Socrates

SUMMARY
=======
Greater Iran (Persian: ایران بزرگ‎, Irān-e Bozorg) is a term used to refer to the regions of the Caucasus, West Asia, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia that have significant Iranian cultural influence due to having been either long historically ruled by the various imperial dynasties of Persian Empire (such as those of the Medes, Achaemenids, Parthians, Sassanians, Samanids, Safavids, and Afsharids and the Qajars), having considerable aspects of Persian culture due to extensive contact with the various imperial dynasties of Iran (e.g., those regions and peoples in the North Caucasus that were not under direct Iranian rule), or are simply nowadays still inhabited by a significant amount of Iranic peoples who patronize their respective cultures (as it goes for the western parts of South Asia, Bahrain and Tajikistan). It roughly corresponds to the territory on the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains. The Encyclopædia Iranica uses the term Iranian Cultural Continent for this region.The term Greater Iran is not limited to the modern state of Iran, but includes all the territory ruled by the Iranians throughout the history, including Mesopotamia, Eastern Anatolia, all of the Caucasus and Central Asia. The concept of Greater Iran has its source in the history of the Achaemenid Empire in Persis (modern day Pars region), and overlaps to a certain extent with the history of Iran.
In recent centuries, Iran lost many of the territories conquered under the Safavid and Qajar dynasties, including Iraq to the Ottomans (via the Treaty of Amasya in 1555 and the Treaty of Zuhab in 1639), western Afghanistan to the British (via the Treaty of Paris in 1857 and the MacMahon Arbitration in 1905), and all its Caucasus territories to Russia during the Russo-Persian Wars in the course of the 19th century. The Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 resulted in Iran ceding Dagestan, Georgia, and most of Azerbaijan to Russia. The Turkmanchey Treaty of 1828 decisively ended centuries of Iranian control of its Caucasian provinces, and made Iran cede what is present-day Armenia, the remainder of Azerbaijan and Igdir (eastern Turkey), and set the modern boundary along the Aras River.On the Nowruz of 1935, the endonym Iran was adopted as the official international name of Persia by its ruler Reza Shah Pahlavi. However, in 1959, the government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Reza Shah Pahlavi's son, announced that both Persia and Iran could officially be used interchangeably.

Sasanian Empire | Wikipedia audio article

This is an audio version of the Wikipedia Article:
Sasanian Empire

Listening is a more natural way of learning, when compared to reading. Written language only began at around 3200 BC, but spoken language has existed long ago.

Learning by listening is a great way to:
- increases imagination and understanding
- improves your listening skills
- improves your own spoken accent
- learn while on the move
- reduce eye strain

Now learn the vast amount of general knowledge available on Wikipedia through audio (audio article). You could even learn subconsciously by playing the audio while you are sleeping! If you are planning to listen a lot, you could try using a bone conduction headphone, or a standard speaker instead of an earphone.


The witness of great history

Here is the most authentic part of Derbent. In order to realize the real historical value of this fortress, it's better to visit the medieval and older sights of north-eastern part of Azerbaijan Republic. Key point of Empires

This fort has been repaired and restored after so many things this place has seen. They left the bullet holes in the walls is place from the patriotic war and the great patriotic war. You still look out through the arrow slits and see the areas protected each station. The fort is over 2000 years old and has seen so many peoples and empires come and go. Great world heritage site.

Naryn-Kala is one of the most famous places in Derbent and in Dagestan. The old parts are nice, there is a nice museum inside but after renovation it looks terrible. The shape of Naryn-Kala looks like old but the material (colour and quality) are completely different than old. So you are walking not on old place but on place which is 2 years old. They wanted to make reconstruction but they build a new place :(

However precious and impressive this fortress is, due to politically fragile Dagestan`s situation Derbent doesn`t get the attention it deserves. Not even nearly. Even though the city`s amazingly rich 5000 year old history reflects in each stone of this fortress you`ll most probably see hardly any visitors around it. It`s obvious that Derbent has most of its past been a part of the eastern,islamic world, and the powerful influence of islam is still very present in the way people think,communicate and live their daily lives. Which means it`s incredibly conservative society. The streets are quiet, women are covered from head to toes and it`s a bit scarry to witness such a strong influence of (radical)islam. It prevents this town,as well as many others from realizing its true potential and it`s sad..

I`ve never been to any place like this though and I recommend it as a must see.


Watch the video: Derbent Fortress Naryn-Kala (July 2022).


Comments:

  1. Siegfried

    This is not exactly what I need.

  2. Link

    Totally agree with her. Great idea, I agree with you.

  3. Jedidiah

    have you quickly invented such an incomparable phrase?



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