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Chufut-Kale(cho͞ofo͞ot`-kəlyĕ`) [Turk.,=Jews' city], ruined fortress and town, S Crimea (Ukraine, occupied and annexed by Russia in 2014). While under Turkish rule (1475–1783), it was the center of the Jewish sect of KaraitesKaraites
, form of Judaism, reputedly founded (8th cent.) in Persia by Anan ben David and originally known as Ananites. Its adherents were called Karaites after the 9th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. . Jewish inscriptions date back to 1203, and the region was probably the last refuge of the Crimean KhazarsKhazars
, ancient Turkic people who appeared in Transcaucasia in the 2d cent. A.D. and subsequently settled in the lower Volga region. They emerged as a force in the 7th cent. and rose to great power. The Khazar empire extended (8th–10th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. .
(or Chufutkale), a medieval cave city-fortress on the outskirts of Bakhchisarai, Crimean Oblast. It is thought that Chufut-Kale was founded in the fifth or sixth century; remains of a defensive wall (known as the middle wall) date from the tenth century. After the Mongol-Tatar invasion (13th century), Chufut-Kale, which is mentioned in various sources as Kyrk-Er in the land of the As-Alani, was the center of a small feudal principality. In the 14th and 15th centuries, a commercial and artisan settlement grew outside the walls. The city gradually fell into decline as Bakhchisarai flourished and, by the mid-19th century, was abandoned by its inhabitants. In the western part of the city, surrounded by the middle wall, there are remains of caves cut into the cliffs, the ruins of a mosque, a mausoleum (1437), and two Karaite cenotaphs. In the eastern part of the city, behind the 15th-century wall, there were a mint and numerous dwellings.