Sudak Genoese Fortress
Sudak Genoese Fortress Reviews
Cliff Top Fortress on the Black Sea Jun 28, 2011
Do you like bloody big castles? Do you like bloody big castles on high cliff tops over looking a raging sea? Of course you do! Welcome to Sudak.
In medieval times Khans, Tartars and Mongol vassals ruled the Crimea, from where they launched raids on Kievan Rus. Later, the Venetian Empire set up a trading post in Sudak at the beginning of the 13th century. A small fortress was constructed but the whole post was seceded to their rivals, the Genoese Empire, in 1365. The Genoese Empire had number of thriving ports on the Crimean coast, and most of the current fortress is attributed to them. Sudak is a very large fortress, however, the nearby Genoese town of Theodosia (Kaffa) had an even bigger fortress and miles of city walls. Sadly little remains today. The Ottomans took control of Sudak and all other Genoese colonies in 1475. In 1771, Sudak was occupied by a Russian army, and two years later become part of the Russian Empire.
The highest tower of Sudak castle can only be reached by ascending a 70 degree slope using an old steel cable. I reached around two thirds of the way up the cable, before deciding that should my tiring arms slip, I would probably come a cropper. Therefore, I came back down. About five minutes later a chubby, bald, bull necked Ukrainian with his hot girlfriend in tow proceeded to get to the top tower using the aforementioned cable. The girl was wearing hot pants, thong sandals and had her handbag over her arm. Suitably humiliated, I had to give it another go and made it to the top tower, which I did, albeit shaking with adrenaline and fear. In the past five years this is the only time I have ever feared for my life.
Sudak castle is a short walk form the town centre or beach front. You don’t need a map. Just look for the unmissable citadel that blots out the sun. For good views of the castle, climb the hills located outside the outer walls.
There is plenty of dirt cheap public transport from Simferopol. Buses leave when full, around every 15 minutes and the trip takes an hour. Oddly, there is only one bus a day from Yalta (which I missed and had to rent a taxi – expensive). It leaves at around 8am and tickets must be bought at the station. If you go to Sudak, you should also visit nearby Novi Svit, which is far better then Sudak’s beaches.
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