Table of contents:
- Caucasian towers as architectural works
- Amirkhan tower in Kabardino-Balkaria
- Hulam aul tower
- Bolat-Kala tower complex
- Tower Mamiya-Kala in Karachay-Cherkessia
- Watchtower of Musrukh village
- Itzari Ancestral Watchtower
- Erzi tower complex
Most of the ancient architectural monuments that have survived to our time are buildings of a cult or religious nature. However, there are also such monumental buildings that had a completely practical purpose, necessary for the struggle and survival of a people or tribe. And these may not necessarily be some kind of castles surrounded by thick walls and deep ditches. On the slopes of the North Caucasus, stone watchtowers are scattered, which, like lighthouses against the background of the sea, lonely straightened among the silhouettes of the Caucasian peaks.
Caucasian towers as architectural worksWatchtowers in the Caucasus are considered one of the examples and symbols of the unique identity of the culture of the mountain peoples. Currently, such buildings can be found on the territory of 6 Russian republics: Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, Ossetia and Chechnya. Watchtowers, being very successful in terms of fortification, as well as resistance to the forces of nature, at different times appeared in the cultures of many nations and peoples.
From an economic point of view, such structures were very expensive to build. Consequently, the significance of these towers for a clan, tribe or a whole nation was difficult to overestimate. In view of this, such structures very often had a fairly wide functionality: they were both an observation post or a fortification for defense against invaders, and were used as ordinary housing.
It is because of their military purpose that most of the towers were destroyed and have not survived to this day. Historians have found that quite a few of these buildings were ancestral or family. An interesting fact is that the construction of the tower, from laying the foundation to the start of operation, should have lasted no more than one year. If the builders did not meet this deadline, the clan, whose tower was planned to be, began to be considered unfavorable.
As for the location of watchtowers, they were most often built in close proximity to villages. But the ancestral towers were erected in the settlement itself, closer to its center. If we talk about when the Caucasian peoples began to build such stone buildings, then the first towers that have survived to our time belong to the period of the X-XII centuries. Some watchtowers of the North Caucasus have been well preserved to this day and are very significant and visited tourist attractions.
Amirkhan tower in Kabardino-BalkariaOne of the outposts of the Cherek-Balkar gorge defense system is the Amirkhan tower, or Amirkhan-Kala. The uniqueness of this structure lies in the fact that it was built on a natural rock boulder more than 5 meters high. The tower was built approximately in the 17th-18th centuries by order of one of the heads of the Amirkhanov family.
In the north-eastern wall of the tower there is an entrance door at a height of just under half a meter from the base. There is a window opening on the opposite wall (southwest). There is a small loophole on the northwest wall of the tower.The tower itself was built of roughly hewn stones, smeared with lime mortar and was two-story. This is evidenced by the characteristic wall openings into which the wooden floor beams were inserted.
Hulam aul towerOn the left side of the Khulamo-Bezengi gorge in Balkaria, a family watchtower rises above the village of Khulam. The location of this building from the point of view of its purpose is very favorable: the Khulam tower was erected on a horizontal platform, which is very difficult to reach.
The only way to the building is a dangerous winding mountain path, which at the end abuts against the barrier wall of the Hulam tower, erected between the sheer cliffs.
Bolat-Kala tower complexThere is a whole complex of watchtowers - Bolat-Kala - in the Cherek-Balkarsky gorge. This complex is the largest fortification in the region. The construction of Bolat-Kala began in the 12th century with a single-chamber tower building, around which a stone wall was built. Later, next to the main tower, a 2-chamber structure with windows and a loophole was added, which provided an excellent view of the surrounding area.
The complex had one entrance in the wall, which is adjacent to the sheer cliff. The enemy couldn’t even penetrate, he couldn’t even approach the tower unnoticed. The complex could withstand not only massive enemy attacks, but also a very long siege. For this, several wells were built in one of the corners of the main tower. They were used by the defenders of the complex for storing food and other household needs.
Tower Mamiya-Kala in Karachay-CherkessiaThe Mamiya-Kala Tower was built on the top of Mount Kala-Basha around the 13th-14th centuries. This building is the only one in the Elbrus region, as well as the oldest building of this type in Karachay-Cherkessia. Mamiya-Kala was a fortification object that protected the village of Khuzruk. The base of the tower is a square.
The watchtower was built of hewn stones, “fastened” in the masonry with lime mortar. Mamiya-Kala was a multi-storey building - in the walls at each of the levels, you can see indentations for the beams of the interfloor floors. Near the entrance to the tower, there is a well carved into the rock and lined with stone. In it, the defenders of Mamiya-Kala stored food, water and fuel supplies.
Watchtower of Musrukh villageThe watchtower in the village of Musrukh in the Shamil region of Dagestan is one of the tallest surviving Caucasian towers. This seven-story building was built in the XV-XVI centuries. the Keleb community to protect against attacks from the tribal communities living in the Gidatl Valley.
Strategically, the location of the Musrukh tower is very favorable - it was built in the center of the village and due to its height, as well as the height on which it was erected, the tower provided an excellent all-round view.
Itzari Ancestral WatchtowerA family watchtower rises on the edge of a mountain plateau near the settlement of Itzari, Dakhadayevsky district of Dagestan. Unlike most of the Caucasian towers, the Itzari tower has a round, rather than square, base. And the way of building this structure is slightly different from other towers. In Itzari, it was built from rough stones chipped from the rocks. As a bonding mixture, not lime, but clay mortar was used. To level the masonry of the wall, the architects of that time (XIV century) used medium-sized stones.
This architectural style is typical for most watchtowers in Dagestan. At all levels of the tower in its stone walls 2 m thick, loopholes are located in a circle. Currently, the tower near the village of Itzari is considered the largest of the fully preserved ones. After restoration, this landmark was included in the list of protected architectural monuments of federal significance.
Erzi tower complexThe complex of 31 towers in the Erzi Dzheyrakhsky region of the Republic of Ingushetia is currently considered the largest and most well-preserved tower complex in the North Caucasus. All of its buildings - and these are 20 residential, 9 combat and 2 semi-combat towers, were erected in the period from the XIV to the XVII centuries.
Erzi's towers have no foundations. They are built from large hewn stone boulders right on the rocky terrace. From the rear, the entire complex is reliably protected by mountains. All Erzi's battle towers have 5 levels with loopholes and observation windows.
Looking at these ancestral towers, you involuntarily begin to realize how difficult life was for the mountain peoples with the eternal struggle for the best pastures and lands. Now all this has become history and crumbled to dust between the centuries. And only the silent guards of the foothills - stone towers, still carry out their service against the backdrop of the majestic peaks of the North Caucasus.
Popular by topic
The funniest memes that appeared thanks to the senator in mittens and a mask and brought almost 2 million "green"
Joe Biden's inauguration was not without some curiosities. The attention of the whole world has attracted … no, not the newly elected President of the United States, but Bernie Sanders. The name of this politician was hitherto unknown to the general public. The elderly senator made a splash on the Internet with his photo in cute knitted mittens and a disposable mask. In just a day, the network was flooded with hundreds of funny memes with a politician. The best of them are further in the review
How teenagers and rock 'n' roll made vaccination fashionable: King Elvis saves the world from an epidemic
The polio virus has kept millions of parents at bay for years. In America, by 1955, tens of thousands of children were infected, many were disabled. Hope came with the discovery of a vaccine against this terrible disease. But those who wanted to be vaccinated were negligible. In search of a solution to this problem, the government attracted the most popular person in the United States at that time - Elvis Presley. The king of rock and roll was able to dramatically change the opinion of all Americans (and not only) about vaccination. How did the musician manage to
Most of the world has been calculating time for four centuries using a calendar called the Gregorian. The year of this calendar is divided into 12 months and lasts 365 days. One additional day is added every four years. Such a year is called a leap year. This is necessary in order to remove the difference between the movement of the sun and the calendar. This concept was introduced in the late 16th century by Pope Gregory XIII as a reform of the Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is generally accepted because
Sir Ernest Shackleton's missing ship, the Endurance, has become a legend. One of the most famous ships in the world sank in the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. This happened during the unfortunate expedition of the explorer in 1914-17 and marked the end of the "heroic era" of the exploration of the ice continent. Over the years, there have been many attempts to locate the crash site, but they were all unsuccessful. A fearless scientist named John Shears is set to take another one in early 2022. Why is he t
Her name is Gertrude and she has an amazing hairstyle that can only be envied. In fact, it is a comb of feathers. With whom only thanks to this the duck was not compared! The famous bird was honored to stand on a par with George Washington, Queen Elizabeth, Albert Einstein and many other famous personalities with memorable hairstyles. The duck has become a real star of the Internet not only because of its "hair", but also because of the unusual qualities of its character. NS