Useful Information

Location: 14 km south of Bakhchisaray.
(44.608668, 33.740215)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave House
Light: bring torch
Guided tours:  
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Eski-Kermen.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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6th century founded as Byzantine fortified post.
10th century expansion of the town began.
12th to 13th century town flourishes and population exceeds 2,000.
1299 destroyed by the troops of the Mongols.
1399 destroyed by the troops of the Mongols.


Эски-Кермен (Old Fortress) is a Medieval town, one of several on the table mountains in the southwestern part of Crimean peninsula. Most of the houses were built into the limestone rock, and as it was a city of cave houses it is often called an underground city. The city is 1,040 m long and 170 m wide, or 8,5 ha, along the 30 m high escarpment of the table mountain. During its heyday in the 12th and 13th century the town had 2,000 inhabitants and 350 cave houses were built, plus 50 more outside the city. This ended in 1299 with the destruction by the troops of the Mongols. Many inhabitants were still there and the cave houses are rather indestructible, but the city never reached its former importance again. And after 100 years, in 1399, when much of the city was rebuilt, they destroyed the city again and completely devastated it. It was never restored again.

The buildings on top of the plateau were destroyed, the walls overgrown and covered by soil. But the cave houses are mostly intact. The inhabitants took anything with them, so they are now completely empty. The city was completely lost, and even its name was forgotten. The new inhabitants of the area called the city Cherkess-Kermen, and later Eski-Kermen, which just means Old Fortress and is not a real name.