Genoese Fortress in Feodosiya

  • Genoese Fortress in Feodosiya
  • Genoese fortress in Feodosiya is a medieval defensive structures built by the Republic of Genoa in the 14th century AD. The fortress was designed to protect town of Kaffa (sometimes spelled as Caffa), the biggest Genoese colony in Crimea. The landmark is located on shores of the Feodosiya Gulf, in southern part of the city. Remnants of the Genoese Fortress are a historical and architectural reserve.

The Fortress had two levels of defenses: a citadel and external defense system. The citadel was built within 1340-1343 around Quarantine Hill, on steep cliffs which alone served as a primary obstacle for advancing enemy. It took another ten years to complete the construction. The citadel is built of limestone with lime mortar as binding medium, the seams were thoroughly finished.

Materials for construction were usually obtained in places where rocky strata were exposed on ground surface on surrounding mountainsides. Or otherwise building materials were obtained from seabed. Citadel walls stretched for total of 2 355 ft., of which only 1538 ft. survived. In some sections the walls were 36 ft. high and 6.5 ft. thick.

Perimeter of the external fortress was almost 3.4 miles long, while it included over 30 towers. A deep moat right near the fortress walls served both as a defensive measure and as a disposal channel helping direct storm discharges to the sea. In its cross-section, the fortress resembled an amphitheatre, with Bay of Feodosiya being its stage. 

Citadel comprised a consul castle, a treasury, a residence of Latin bishops, a court edifice with a balcony where decrees of the consulate were declared. There were also a scales-testing organization, warehouses, and shops, where valuable goods were often sold – such as precious stones, furs, or silk. 

In the 19th century, great part of the defenses were disassembled. Southern wall of the citadel with its two towers (Tower of St. Clement and Tower of Crisco (i.e. Christ) survived along with part of the western wall, pylons, and several towers in different parts of the city (Dock, Constantine, Round towers). A bridge, Turkish bathhouse and several churches survived on area of the citadel. The churches are:

- Church of St. John the Baptist (1348);
- Church of St. John the Apostle (14th c. AD);
- Church of St. George (14th c.)
- Church of St. Stephen (14th c.)    

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