Eski Kermen is a medieval town located just 6 km from Mangupa, in the Bakhchisaray region in Crimea. The town is located atop one of the flat-topped mountains called mesa, which are normal for this part of Crimea, and is famous for its more than 300 caves. The caves were built in the 6th century and was used for human habitation because of the safety they provided and the shelter that they offered from the elements. Over the centuries the dwellings grew and housed several hundreds of people at one time. Religious life was important to these people who had a few temples and churches built in the caves. One of the churches still has frescoes that depict Christ and Mary, although the frescoes are beginning to show the wear of the elements.
The “cave city” was inhabited until the arrival of the Mongols in the 13th century. Due to the mountainous terrain, the town is difficult to reach and was therefore one of the last to succumb to the Mongol onslaught. After the caves were abandoned by the residents, for a brief period, the neighboring villagers began to use the caves for commercial purposes. Today, the caves of Eski Kermen makes for a great day-trip and for hikes.
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