The ancient defenses of the Caucasus

Archaeologists of the ancient defensive structures of the Caucasus

Scientists suggest that the ruins of ancient fortifications in Derbent are part of the mysterious “great wall”, designed to protect civilization from the end of the world.

A Grand fortress Naryn-Kala in Derbent and today it is regarded as a masterpiece of fortification art. Powerful citadel easily soars over the top of the mountain, like a castle in the air. It is unlikely that the inhabitants of ancient Derbent seen the castle like this – for them the Naryn-Kala was an impregnable bulwark, which sheltered them from the claims of many empires – from Persia treacherous greedy to Byzantium. As suggested by modern historians, the citadel for a long time was a part of the huge defensive system stretching from the West to the East and protected the prosperous South from the mysterious threat from the North. By the way, local historians state that the neighborhood of Derbent is the biblical Armageddon, where was to be held the last battle the forces of darkness and light.

Small land

Archaeological excavations conducted on the territory of the Derbent hill, suggests that the first strong fortifications appeared here in the VIII-VII centuries BC, when local residents tried to protect themselves from the raids of the Scythians kimmerijtsev. The Persians seized control of the citadel at the end of the fourth century, but already in the V century began the active construction of fortifications, which with every century only increased its power. For the sake of creating such a serious defensive system old enemies – Persia and Byzantium – had to conclude a contract on cooperation. And it is clear why. The fact is that from the point of view of geopolitics, this region special. The citadel is located where the mountains of the greater Caucasus closest to the Caspian sea, leaving a strip of plain with a width of three kilometers (in Persian Darband means “the gate node”). Arabs do not accidentally dubbed this area of Bab al-Abvab – the Gate the gate. Here was the famous Caspian route connecting Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Moreover, here lay one of the branches of the Great silk road. The one who was holding in his pocket the keys to these gates could be locked away half of the “civilized world”. “The Derbent fortifications were constantly improved, says historian and archaeologist Dmitry Mazurov. – To the X century, according to historians, the walls of Derbent stretched from the peaks of the Caucasus mountains down to the Khazar sea (now Caspian) and stood out in the sea for three miles. Formed between the cliffs was peregorazhivanie chain. The city was almost impossible to attack neither the sea nor from the land. Two big walls, starting from the citadel Naryn-Kala, went to the sea. On the other hand the steep ridges of the wall Dag-Bary went 40 kilometers into the mountains, until rested on an impregnable rock, and the abyss. In this defensive system consisted of forty small fortresses”. The Central citadel could hold the strike for months – eventually arrived to the fortress, even their own water pipe. Following the decline of the Persian Empire in Derbent came the Arabs. When the city became an important commercial and cultural center. But his main task was the defense. But from whom?

The threat from the North

Derbent fortification system was probably not the only one in the region. On the territory of modern Abkhazia in the V-VI centuries was erected Kelasuri wall that stretched for hundreds of kilometers. There was also the TRANS-Caspian wall. Some historians today make the assumption that they have all been combined in the fortification system, which can be called the great Caucasian wall. The argument they give a map of the Italian missionary Arcangelo Lamberti, compiled in the mid-seventeenth century. The Caucasus is represented in the form of an insurmountable boundary between South and North. But that’s not all. There is a theory that the scale of ancient fortifications in the first Millennium of our era could be much more serious. So, if the map were built at different times and in different States cyclopean fortifications – Roman ramparts of the Rhine to the Danube, Byzantine fortifications in the Balkans and the Crimean Peninsula, a system of citadels in the Caucasus, as well as the Great wall of China, Eurasia will be divided by a wall into two parts – North and South. In this case, the Derbent citadel Naryn-Kala will be something like the main gate.

If we accept this version, then the question arises: who was so eager to be fenced off South of the Empire, not jalousie forces and means for the construction of the cyclopean fortifications? On this account there are very interesting versions. For sedentary peoples, which have long been engaged in farming, carrying on an active trade with the neighboring countries, the terrible threat were the nomadic tribes of the North. Previously bitter enemies – the Persians and the Byzantines, suddenly joined their forces, they were the Huns. For the Chinese – Xiongnu. But perhaps the danger was not limited. Historians suggest the existence of more terrible strength, for protection from which was constructed enormous fortifications. “For centuries roamed the world in the myth of the unknown peoples of the North, Gog and Magog, – says Dmitry Mazurov, – or, as they were called Arabs, yajuj and Magog. These peoples were believed to threaten the security of the entire civilized world.” Gog and Magog, according to ancient predictions, were to come from the North, destroying and devastating all the land in its path. Their invasion would mark the appearance of the Messiah, with the subsequent last judgment. Perhaps erecting an impregnable citadel and a high wall stretching for hundreds of kilometers, different people together tried to postpone the coming end of the world. The title of all-destroying force could claim the Huns, before the attack which, by the way, the bastions of the Naryn-Kala resist. Later they could become the Mongols. Troops of Genghis Khan conquered Derbent in 1239, after which it lost its power, and eventually turned into an ordinary provincial town. However, perhaps it was not the same tribes, whose arrival feared by the residents of the South. Some historians suggest that the great defensive system was built by our ancestors, that is, on century. So if they do not, then their descendants were able to protect the fragile peace from the coming of Gog and Magog. Well, if you take this beautiful version on faith, carotid Derbent is the legendary Armageddon, where good and evil will converge on the melee outcome.

There is an opinion

Murtazali Gadzhiyev, Professor, Deputy Chairman of the Dagestan scientific center RAS:

– Was there some kind of common defensive wall? To say unequivocally I do not undertake. For example, archaeologists know exactly when have any of the Derbent defensive complex with the wall Dag-Bary and the citadel Naryn-Kala, and that’s when it was built Abkhazian wall, is still unknown. Different hypotheses are made. Some believe that it appeared in antiquity, someone believes that later – in the middle Ages.

Omar Davudov, Deputy Director of the Institute of history, archeology and Ethnography of Dagestan scientific center of Russian Academy of Sciences:

– They say that under the invasion of Gog and Magog could mean the Great migration of peoples. But do not succumb to such interpretations. It is a myth, which had met in the ancient middle-Eastern authors. And there was quite an unusual description of these people – say, one ear lays, and serves others. These legends are reflected in the Bible and the Quran. And in the middle Ages all over trying to find more interpretation.

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