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Khan’s Palace in Bakhchisaray

28. January 2010 by Christy 0 Comments

Founded in 1532, Khan’s Palace, also known as Hansaray or Bakhchisaray Palace, was home to a series of Crimean Khans. The Muslim palace, one of three Muslim palaces in Europe, is located in the town of Bakhchisaray, Crimea, Ukraine.


The palace contains two mosques, a Turkish bath, a harem, a cemetery, living areas, gardens, and fountains, among other objects of interest.


Constructed by Russian and Ukrainian slaves, Khan’s Palace has faced significant damage over the years, but has since been restored. Historians hope the palace will soon be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



The Harem

The harem housed the various women of the palace. This group typically included the khans’ mothers, unmarried sisters and daughters, wives, and female servants. The Khans’ sons also lived in the harem until they were 7 years old. Very little is known about life in the harem, and only one of the original buildings still stands. Today, visitors can see a restored dining room, living room, and drawing room.



The Fountain of Tears

Built in 1764, “The Fountain of Bakhchisaray” or “Fountain of Tears” is a testament to one man’s love for a beautiful woman. Legend has it that one of the last Crimean Khans, Qırım Giray Khan, was devastated by the death of his lovely young lover (some say she was a princess named Dilara, while others believe she was a young Polish girl in his harem). The Khan wept for his lost love and commissioned a marble fountain to be made in her honor. This fountain is said to symbolize his never-ending tears. In 1824, the famous Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, wrote a poem entitled “The Fountain of Bakhchisaray” after a visit to Khan’s Palace. You can read “The Fountain of Bakhchisaray” here.



The Big Khan Mosque

The Big Khan Mosque was the first building on the site to be constructed, and it is the most noticeable building of the palace. Muslims were unable to pray in the mosque during the Soviet regime, but believers can, and do, pray there now.



For more information about Khan's Palace please visit www.hansaray.org.ua.