Welsh Castle in Belgorod-Dnestrovskyi: a beauty worth seeing
The Akkerman fortress is known not only in the south of our homeland, but throughout the country. It is the largest of all Ukrainian fortifications. It is often compared to famous European outposts, especially to the Welsh Castle in the UK. Perhaps there are some common features, but we can safely say that our citadel is in no way inferior to its twin sister. After all, it was built not according to someone's prototype, but almost at the same time as its named "relative". That is why it cannot be called a copy or someone else's likeness. It is one of a kind.
A brief history of the Belgorod-Dnistrovskyi Castle
Before the stone fortification appeared, the ancient city of Tira flourished on this land. But in the fourth century, its life came to an end. First, it was partially destroyed by the raids of the Goths, and then completely destroyed by the Huns. After that, the area passed from one nation to another. The Antes, Dacians, and Slavs ruled here. The estuary and its surroundings also belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary and the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia. Then the region came under the control of the Golden Horde.
Of course, none of the nomads thought to put down roots here. But they did not plan to give up control either. The territories were extremely important, even though they were "empty". Later, the cunning and very skillful Genoese noticed this and managed to negotiate with the then rulers and settled here. Later, the Mongol-Tatars realized their mistake and drove out the illegal residents, but soon failed themselves. They could not withstand the Lithuanian onslaught. The bastion got new owners again. And soon it came under the control of Moldova.
As you can see, the history of the stronghold is very complicated and confusing. Experts still argue about who was the first "developer". There is no exact answer. But it is known that every monarchy under whose influence the fortress was built built its own defenses, towers, or dungeons. Therefore, we can assume that this is a collective effort, in which Moldovans, Lithuanians, Hungarians, and others have invested.
The structure of the Akkerman outpost
The system of its fortifications is based on the Roman-Byzantine tradition. The structure itself has a quadrangular shape with protruding corner towers. These multi-tiered towers were designed for different purposes. One served as a prison, another was a commandant's office, the third had a secret exit, and the last hid a treasury where weapons and ammunition were stored.
In addition to the four main guards, there were many sentries on the territory of the outpost. Along the perimeter of the citadel alone, 35 high walls with observation platforms were built. All of them were connected by curtains.
By the way, today a stone crossing leads to the castle. But even before the nineteenth century, the stronghold served as a defensive shield and had a bridge with a lifting mechanism. It was this structure that prevented enemies from reaching the walls of the fortification and helped to hold out for a long time during the siege.
As expected, the bastion is favorably located. It was built on a rocky hill washed by the waters of the estuary. So the invaders had little chance of conquering the fortress. But there were still those who managed to do so.
The most famous battle
Only the Ottoman army managed to conquer the outpost without a long blockade. They took it in just 9 days. Historians believe that this was almost impossible for such a defensive point. After all, it was fortified and had excellent protection. There is only one explanation for this strange event - betrayal.
Unfortunately, at that time Stephen the Great's army was not in place. So the boyars took the opportunity and handed over the keys to the Turks. Later, the Moldavian king tried to get his lands back. But all his attempts were in vain. For three long centuries, the fortification came under the rule of a powerful empire.
Belgorod-Dnestrovskyi Castle (present day)
Today, everyone has the opportunity to visit this fortification. Even during a full-scale invasion, it works, but not in full. Visitors have the opportunity to book a walk, wander around the territory, and listen to interesting lectures given by a guide.
The bastion used to host grand jousting tournaments and medieval performances. Today, unfortunately, they are prohibited. But the workers are sure that when the war ends, theatrical performances will be resumed. So we are waiting for the victory.
In the meantime, we recommend you to visit the thematic excursions called "Labyrinths of History" and "Cruel Middle Ages". The first one will focus on the city of Tyre, its emergence, prosperity, and destruction. You will be guided along the route along the outer wall, where you will be able to see a fragment of a preserved Roman street.
During the second lecture, guests will learn about the "dark" era, which we all associate with knights and epic duels. You will be told how cruel and ignorant people were. How they lived and what kind of medicine they had. You will also visit the exhibition hall, where you will find various instruments of torture.
You can visit the Akkerman fortress at any time of the year. By the way, it is very beautiful here in winter. Especially when the estuary freezes, and the walls of the citadel and its surrounding areas are covered with a blanket of snow.