Tmutarakan


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Tmutarakan’

 

an ancient Russian city on the Taman’ Peninsula, on the present site of the stanitsa (large cossack village) of Taman’. In the eighth and ninth centuries A.D., it was the site of the settlement of Tama tar kha, which was under the Khazar Khanate. After the prince of Kiev Sviatoslav Igorevich routed the Khazar Khanate in 965, Tmutarakan’ replaced Tamatarkha and became the political center of the newly established Tmutarakan’ Principality.

The city was an important trade center with a fine harbor, thus serving to maintain political and economic ties between the Russian principalities and the peoples of the Northern Caucasus and Byzantine Empire. The inhabitants of Tmutarakan’ were Kasogi, Alani, Greeks, Russians, and Armenians. A strong brick wall was built around the city in the tenth century. The Church of the Bogoroditsa (Mother of God) was built in Tmutarakan’ in 1023 by Prince Mstislav Vladimirovich, who ruled there from 988 to 1036. In 1068, as recorded on the Tmutarakan’ Stone, Prince Gleb measured the distance across the sea from Tmutarakan’ to Korchev (now Kerch’). In the 12th century, repeated attacks by the Polovtsy weakened the ties between Tmutarakan’ and the Russian realms. Excavations of Tmutarakan’ were begun in the 19th century and continued until the mid-20th.