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Derbent: Russia’s Ancient City

1. February 2010 by Christy 0 Comments

Located on the western shores of the Caspian Sea, Derbent is thought to be the oldest city in Russia. Recent excavations have unearthed structures that date back over 5,000 years and many of these ancient structures still stand today.  

Derbent is located on a narrow strip of land between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus mountains, a location that has served the city well as it allowed rulers to control trade and land traffic. Settlers in the area constructed a series of walls and towers to defend their strategic location, and in 2003 UNESCO classified Derbent’s Citadel, Ancient City, and Fortress Buildings as a World Heritage Site. Historical attractions in the area include the baths, the cisterns, the old cemeteries, the caravanserai, the 18th century Khan's mausoleum, as well as several mosques.


Today, Derbent is home to approximately 101,000 people and is a production center for Russian brandy. Though Derbent is ripe for tourism, the area's instability has prevented any major growth. Here a few photos of the city's ancient wonders.