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Yenikale, Defender of the Kerch Strait Coast

16. July 2010 by Michelle 0 Comments

Remnants of military forts and compounds are common sights in Russia and Ukraine, but one of most stunning examples sits upon the Kerch Strait coastline. Yenikale is Turkish for “new fortress” and it was built by the Turks in the late 17th century under the supervision of an Italian architect. French engineers contributed as well, and this collaboration of multiple cultures led to its strength and success.

 

The Kerch Strait was a crucial strategic location for a powerful fortress. Yenikale was equipped with massive cannons and an impressive arsenal of weaponry. Several buildings were constructed to defend the city from every direction. Nearly 1,100 Turkish and Tatar soldiers lived there and enjoyed a steady supply of fresh water from underground piping, a comfortable bathhouse, and even a mosque for worship.

 

In 1774, Yenikale was no longer needed and abandoned, although it was briefly used as a military hospital in the 19th century. Many of the buildings have suffered damaging erosion but the structures that do remain are frequently admired and appreciated for the vital role the fortress played in the protection of Kerch and Ukraine.