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|- City -|
|Location of the Republic of Dagestan in Russia|
|DerbentLocation of Derbent in the Republic of Dagestan|
|Coordinates: 42°04′N 48°17′E / 42.067°N 48.283°E / 42.067; 48.283Coordinates: 42°04′N 48°17′E / 42.067°N 48.283°E / 42.067; 48.283|
|Republic of Dagestan|
|City of Derbent|
|Republic of Dagestan|
|City of Derbent, Derbentsky District|
|Derbent Urban Okrug|
|Derbent Urban Okrug, Derbentsky Municipal District|
|Derbent on WikiCommons|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|2003 (27th Session)|
|* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List ** Region as classified by UNESCO|
Derbent (Russian: Дербе́нт; Azerbaijani: Dərbənd; Lezgian: Кьвевар; Avar: Дербенд; Lak: Чурул, Churul; Persian: دربند; Judæo-Tat: דארבּאנד/Дэрбэнд/Dərbənd) is a city in the Republic of Dagestan, Russia, located on the Caspian Sea, north of the Azerbaijani border. It is the southernmost city in Russia, and it is the second most important city of Dagestan. Population: 119,200 (2010 Census); 101,031 (2002 Census); 78,371 (1989 Census).
Often identified with the legendary Gates of Alexander, Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia (8th century BCE). Since antiquity, the value of the area as the gate to the Caucasus has been understood, and Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic particularity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world. Over the years, different nations gave the city different names, but all connected to the word gate; its name in Persian is Derbend, which means "closed gates".
Derbent has an important strategic location in the Caucasus: the city is situated on a narrow, three-kilometer strip of land between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus mountains. Historically, this position allowed the rulers of Derbent to control land traffic between the Eurasian Steppe and the Middle East. The only other practicable crossing of the Caucasus ridge was over the Darial Gorge.
The first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BCE; the site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BCE. Until the 4th century CE, it was part of Caucasian Albania and is traditionally identified with Albana, the capital. The modern name is a Persian word (دربند Darband) meaning "closed gates", which came into use in the end of the 5th or the beginning of the 6th century CE, when the city was re-established by Kavadh I of the Sassanid dynasty of Persia.
The 20-meter (66 ft) high walls with thirty north-looking towers are believed to belong to the time of Kavadh's son, Khosrau I. The chronicler Movses Kagankatvatsi wrote about "the wondrous walls, for whose construction the Persian kings exhausted our country, recruiting architects and collecting building materials with a view of constructing a great edifice stretching between the Caucasus Mountains and the Great Eastern Sea." Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
Movses Kagankatvatsi left a graphic description of the sack of Derbent by the hordes of Tong Yabghu of the Western Turkic Khaganate in 627. His successor, Böri Shad, proved unable to consolidate Tong Yabghu's conquests, and the city was retaken by the Persians. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs, who transformed it in an important administrative center and introduced Islam to the area. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. The Sassanids had also brought Armenians from Syunik to help protect the pass from invaders; as Arab rule weakened in the region at the end of the ninth century, the Armenians living there were able to establish a kingdom of their own, which lasted until the early years of the thirteenth century.Sassanian fortress in Derbent
Excavations on the eastern side of the Caspian Sea, opposite to Derbent, revealed the Great Wall of Gorgan, the eastern counterpart to the wall and fortifications of Derbent. Similar Sasanian defensive fortifications there—massive forts, garrison towns, long walls—also run from the sea to the mountains.
The Caliph Harun al-Rashid spent time living in Derbent and brought it into great repute as a seat of the arts and commerce. According to Arab historians, Derbent, with population exceeding 50,000, was the largest city of the 9th century Caucasus. In the 10th century, with the collapse of the Arab Caliphate, Derbent became the capital of an emirate. This emirate often fought losing wars with the neighboring Christian state of Sarir, allowing Sarir to occasionally manipulate Derbent politics. Despite that, the emirate outlived its rival and continued to flourish at the time of the Mongol invasion in 1239.
In the 14th century, Derbent was occupied by Timur's armies. In 1437, it fell under the control of the Shirvanshahs of Azerbaijan. During the 16th century, Derbent was the arena for wars between Turkey and Persia ruled by the Iranian Safavid dynasty. The Ottoman Empire gained control of the city following the Battle of the Torches in 1583, and Ottoman ownership was secured with the Treaty of Istanbul of 1590.
By the 1735 Ganja treaty, Derbent fell within the Persian state. In 1722, during the Russo-Persian War, Peter the Great of Russia wrested the town from the Persians, but in 1736, the supremacy of Nadir Shah was again recognized. In 1747, Derbent became the capital of the khanate of the same name.
During the Persian Expedition of 1796, Derbent was stormed by Russian forces under Valerian Zubov. As a consequence of the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813—between Russian and Persia—Derbent became part of the Russian Empire.The Caspian Gates
A large portion of the walls and several watchtowers have been preserved in reasonable shape till our days. The walls, reaching to the sea, date from the 6th century, Sassanid dynasty period. The city has a well-preserved citadel (Narin-kala), enclosing an area of 4.5 hectares (11 acres), enclosed by strong walls. Historical attractions include the baths, the cisterns, the old cemeteries, the caravanserai, the 18th-century Khan's mausoleum, as well as several mosques. The oldest mosque is the Juma Mosque, built over a 6th-century Christian basilica; it has a 15th-century madrassa. Other shrines include the 17th-century Kyrhlyar mosque, the Bala mosque and the 18th-century Chertebe mosque.Geography
The modern city is built near the western shores of the Caspian Sea, south of the Rubas River, on the slopes of the Tabasaran Mountains (part of the Bigger Caucasus range). Derbent is well served by public transport, with its own harbor, a railway going south to Baku, and the Baku to Rostov-on-Don road.
To the north of the town is the monument of the Kirk-lar, or forty heroes, who fell defending Dagestan against the Arabs in 728. To the south lies the seaward extremity of the Caucasian wall (fifty metres long), otherwise known as Alexander's Wall, blocking the narrow pass of the Iron Gate or Caspian Gates (Portae Athanae or Portae Caspiae). This, when entire, had a height of 29 ft (9 m) and a thickness of about 10 ft (3 m) and, with its iron gates and numerous watch-towers, formed a valuable defence of the Persian frontier.Climate
|17.0 (62.6)||25.0 (77.0)||18.0 (64.4)||24.0 (75.2)||31.0 (87.8)||41.0 (105.8)||38.0 (100.4)||40.0 (104.0)||34.0 (93.2)||27.0 (80.6)||23.4 (74.1)||19.0 (66.2)||41.0 (105.8)|
|5.0 (41.0)||4.3 (39.7)||7.5 (45.5)||13.2 (55.8)||19.4 (66.9)||24.6 (76.3)||27.9 (82.2)||27.5 (81.5)||23.3 (73.9)||16.7 (62.1)||11.6 (52.9)||7.7 (45.9)||16.0 (60.8)|
|2.7 (36.9)||2.0 (35.6)||5.0 (41.0)||10.2 (50.4)||16.1 (61.0)||21.4 (70.5)||24.7 (76.5)||24.2 (75.6)||20.0 (68.0)||13.8 (56.8)||9.2 (48.6)||5.3 (41.5)||13.2 (55.8)|
|0.6 (33.1)||−0.2 (31.6)||2.8 (37.0)||7.4 (45.3)||12.7 (54.9)||17.7 (63.9)||21.3 (70.3)||20.7 (69.3)||16.6 (61.9)||10.9 (51.6)||6.7 (44.1)||3.1 (37.6)||10.3 (50.5)|
|−14 (6.8)||−10.9 (12.4)||−14 (6.8)||0.1 (32.2)||1.9 (35.4)||10.0 (50.0)||12.9 (55.2)||9.0 (48.2)||6.0 (42.8)||−1 (30.2)||−3.9 (25.0)||−12 (10.4)||−14 (6.8)|
|13.1 (0.516)||21.2 (0.835)||19.3 (0.76)||12.0 (0.472)||16.0 (0.63)||17.4 (0.685)||33.7 (1.327)||16.2 (0.638)||26.0 (1.024)||34.3 (1.35)||17.9 (0.705)||29.4 (1.157)||256.5 (10.098)|
Within the framework of administrative divisions, Derbent serves as the administrative center of Derbentsky District, even though it is not a part of it. As an administrative division, it is incorporated separately as the City of Derbent—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, the City of Derbent is incorporated as Derbent Urban Okrug.Demographics
The main ethnic groups are (2002 Census):
The city is home to machine building, food, textile, fishing and fishery supplies, construction materials and wood industries. It is the production center of Russian brandy. The education infrastructure is fairly extensive; there is a university as well as several technical schools. On the cultural front, there is a Lezgin drama theater (named after S. Stalsky). About two kilometers from the city is the vacation colony of Chayka (Seagull).
Derbent, being in practice a huge museum and with magnificent mountains and shore nearby, a great potential for development of the tourism industry exists, further increased by UNESCO's classification of the Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress as a World Heritage Site in 2003; however, instability in the region has not allowed further development.
Derbent is twinned with: