During 2500-year history, city of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi get a great history, survive a lot of historical eras, his numerous names testify about moving and changing of people, but coasts of fast Dniester was always densely populated.
History of city of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi begins at the end of 6th century B.C., when people from Asia Minor city of Miletus on west coast of Dniester established city of Tyras. The remains of Ancient Thira, what was located in place of current Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, are unique historical and cultural monument. Over, almost a thousand years of history, Tyras experienced many invasions – Gets, Goths, Huns; in the first centuries of our era city is part of the Roman Empire and its name was changed to Alba-Lulia. The early Slavs name it city of Turis, Uliches and Tivertsi –Belgorod.
In the 12th century, Belgorod is part of the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia , since 1214- under the reign of the Kingdom of Hungary. In the end of the 14th century city is part of Moldavia and its named Cetatea Alba. The city has become the main port of principality and the capital of the southern provinces of Moldavia. By this time the building a powerful fortress was finished, this is one of the most outstanding and interesting monument of defense architecture of the Middle Aged. First of all, the construction of that kind of fortification was connected with political instability in the region. There are different versions about the time when fortress was build.
Some consider that its Turkish fortress, some – Moldavian, but citadel – Genoese. It was building almost 200 years ( 13-15 centuries). At all times fortress admired, expressed with power and inaccessibility. Fortress was build on the on the high, rocky coast of Dniester Estuary – from the local stone – limestone, , in plan is an irregular polygon with an area of just over 9 hectares. Rising to the side of the walls, you can walk around the fortress perimeter and learn about constructional and architectural features of defensive line.
Spread of defense walls is around 2,5 km, height of walls and towers – from 5 to 15 m, depth – from 1,5 to 5 m. From North fortress surrounded by water of Dniester Estuary, from other three sides surrounded by deep ditch, carved into the rock. Originally, ditch was filled with water, its depth is around 20 m, width- 14 m, interior wall of ditch was continued to human growth, and was defense for everybody, who protected fortress. 34 towers are build in the walls of fortress, all of them are different in plan, in height and in purpose. 12 of them – are empty inside, living spaces, that have used for self-defense and storage of public grain stocks. Some of those towers have their own name, that connected with old legends – tower of Ovidius, Tower of Pushkin, Dungeon, Curfew tower and Treasury tower. People can enter to the fortress by side of the city, from Main (Kalian) gate – it was the most important object for protection, in former time here was drawbridge, two folding gates, two pointed grilles – portcullis, in the second half of tier were located ports and cracked for hot water and resin. Interior protection walls separate fortress on 4 yards, every of them have their own purpose and can survive besiegement by itself.
In the 15th century Ottoman Empire made several attempts to take a city and the fortress. The most serious and brutal attempt was made at august o 1418, when 300 thousand army of Turkish sultan Bayezid II, 50 thousand army of khan Menli-Giray and 100 warships lay siege to fortress from side of land and estuary. Assaulters swamped deep citadel, dig trenches for artillery, fired from all sides, and then went to the assault. And after desperate resistance, defenders of fortress were forced to give it to the enemies. Turkish authority was established for a lond 328 years and the city started to have another name – Akkerman ( white stone), and started to be the center of Akkerman sanjak.
In the 18th century Russia has become a major world power, which occupied an important place in the system of international relations. The events of three Russian-Turkish wars affected the territory of the south of Russia. In 1770, after a 10-day siege, armies of brigadier-general I.A. Igelstrem- at the first time took the city. In 1789 – the assault of the fortress was carried out by troops under the command of G. Potemkin, the units of the Black Sea Fleet were commanded by F.F. Ushakov, M. Kutuzov, M. Platov, Barclay de Tolly. In 1832, the fortress was abolished as a military-defensive structure, and in 1896 it was declared a historical and architectural monument.
Today, the Belgorod-Dnistrovsky fortress is a national monument, it attract numerous tourists, song festivals take place here, walls of the fortress are “stormed” in theatrical performances, and you can participate in jousting.