The article continues a series of works about the fortresses of the North-Western Black Sea region and the temples located in them (and near them), mainly Ottoman mosques, some of which were re-consecrated (some more than once) into Christian churches. It describes the corresponding monuments of the Bendery fortress, to which the author has already devoted a number of publications . I emphasize that there are no remains of pre-Ottoman Christian churches in the Bendery fortress and its suburbs, and the literary data about them, in my opinion, belong more to the category of legends than historical facts.
The earliest systematic "Description of the Bendery Fortress" was compiled around 1656-1657. Turkish traveler Evliya Chelebi, and it is proved that in relation to this fortress his data are highly accurate: large, but useful for the crossing of those eager to meet the enemy of the Tatars. This fortification was destroyed by the Cossacks during the time of [Sultan] Suleiman Khan. Since the Russians defeated the Tatars when the Tatar army was crossing the Dniester River, the Tatar Khan asked Suleiman Khan to build a fortress in this place, and by the highest decree, the fortress was erected ...
The shape and dimensions of the Bendery fortress. This fortress is a beautiful, solid, quadrangular structure built of stone. It stands on the banks of the Dniester. One side of it is low, and those that face south and the qibla pass along high cliffs made of limestone. There are only two gates in the fortress. One is a large and strong iron gate facing the qibla and opening into the settlement. Every night, with the help of a gate and a chain, the bridge hanging over the moat is raised and the gates of the fortress are blocked by it. Since there are only two rows of walls in this fortress, there is another iron gate inward from the main gate. They face the qibla [south], and on them, on a quadrangular slab of white marble, there is a tarikh. But, since the slab is fixed very high and in a very busy place, it was impossible to read [the inscription] and I could not write it off. To the right of this tarikh, on white marble, was written in calligraphic handwriting:
"Oh! My soul, Ryukiye-khanim ..! .Loving her Majar Mustafa.” On the side of this inscription, a stone was cut out, and the wall was covered with a painted cup made in Iznik. This bowl is a masterful work, with a painting, inside is blue, iridescent tones. Between these iron gates, another gate [in the form of a lattice] is suspended on a high arch. During the battle, this grate is lowered and blocked with it access to the gate in front. Above this gate is the mosque of Suleiman Khan, but it is not so magnificent and majestic. And inside this fortress there are small iron gates facing east and leading to the lower part of the fortification. The fortress approaches the very bank of the Dniester. All the houses inside it are turned to the east and their windows look one on top of the other to the Dniester. In total, there are three hundred shingled houses in it. And there are no vineyards and orchards here at all. All janissaries, gunners and gunsmiths are housed in this fortress. On six strong towers of this lower fortress, there are bal-emez cannons facing the Dniester [from Italian. ballo e mezzo - long-range guns], which absolutely do not give seagulls [combat boats] Russ a passage either there or back ...
On the bank of the Dniester there are the Water Gates facing the east, through which the entire population of the fortress takes water. Since the bank of the Dniester is sandy, there is no moat on this side. In some places, this side of the fortress runs along a steep slope. In this large lower fortress, which has its own gates, there is another mosque of Suleiman Khan, and on both sides of its mihrab there are balemez cannons. There are graves of two martyrs in front of the house of the Janissary agha… On the whole, the comfortable fortress of Bendery is a reliable castle in the Ottoman possessions.
Outside the gates of this fortress, not far from it, at the edge of the moat, on a hillock blown [by the winds], there is a place for gatherings of educated people, a place for walking and a platform for performing joyful prayer. All ghazis perform rituals and prayers there and wait for those arriving [in the fortress]. The ditch along its edges is completely fenced with thick posts with crossbars, and neither a horse, nor a mule, nor any other animal can pass through this fence. For the same reason, no one can throw garbage into the ditch. And that ditch is very deep and clean.
On all four sides of this solid fortress lies the battlefield. There are no traces of any buildings here. And on that battlefield, the cannons of the fortress bristled like hedgehog needles. To the east of this fortress there is no settlement at all, but on the western and southern sides there is a large suburb, and on all sides it is surrounded by a sheer moat. Everywhere in it there are wells with a thick frame and guardrooms.
Posad of the Bendery fortress. In this settlement there are four mosques with mihrabs, seven Muslim quarters and seven Wallachian and Moldavian quarters. In total there are one thousand seven hundred houses, having an upper floor, covered with boards and reeds. The yards of many houses are fenced. The minarets of mosques are upholstered with planks. The mosque, located in the trading rows, has a crowded parish. There are primary schools in two places. There are two hundred large and small shops. There is no pavement on the streets at all, and there are few vineyards. The reason for this is that every day the infidels come and fight and cause destruction. However, the plain extending to the west and south from the settlement is very fertile, covered with grass and [other] vegetation. And in the villages there is a lot of honey and butter. Water and air are very pleasant. The people here are extremely strong, of a heroic physique. Everyone wears Tatar hats and sheepskin coats. Every morning they go to the other side of the Dniester to fight the Cossacks. There is only one cramped bathhouse in the city.
So, Evliya Celebi saw 6 mosques in Bendery: in the gate tower of the citadel, in the tower of the Lower Fortress (both in the name of Sultan Suleiman) and 4 more in the suburbs, more precisely, in seven Muslim quarters. Of these, the locations of the temples in the suburbs are unknown today, since the latter have not been preserved, and there is no other information on this subject. But the remains of the first two exist to this day! One is located in the gate tower of the citadel and the construction of this mosque can be dated to 1538 according to the text of the tariha on the southern wall. The second one is located in the octahedral three-tiered tower No. 12 in the central part of the eastern curtain wall of the Lower Fortress. The mihrab with a semi-dome arched vault, made of red brick, is located in the southern wall of its second tier, between two artillery loopholes. Now Evliya Chelebi's quoted phrase that "on both sides of her mihrab there are bal-emez cannons" has become clear.
Later, for almost a century, there is no information about the structures under study. Details of the internal layout of the fortress appear on a number of plans taken in connection with its storming by the Russian army in 1770. . only one mosque is marked. It was located in the southwestern corner of the fortress against postern No. 5, marked with the letter J and signed "stone mosque". Does this mean that the rest of the temples at that time were wooden or did not exist at all? - it's hard to say.
True, the only known view of the fortress of those times recorded a different picture.
This is an engraving from an as yet unidentified book, which is printed on the same sheet as the plan "Accurated Grundriss des Vestung Bender". Both of them are undated, although the plan can be attributed to the 1740s-1760s. The picture has the inscriptions “castle”, two “mosques”, “Greek church” and, according to two more minarets, one can speak of at least a third mosque. As for their localization, the first mosque with two minarets was located in the southern part of the fortress, the second in the southwestern corner, and the third, the highest with four minarets, was located to the west of the citadel. The Greek church is visible in the suburb to the west of the fortress, and not far from it there is another bell tower or spire.
G. Vilkov believes that “the first Orthodox church on the territory of the former Turkish fortress was hastily built on the site of a Turkish mosque in 1770, after a successful assault on the fortress, at the main Tsaregrad gates,” but did not cite a single fact to support his words. Knowing the practice of “development” of Ottoman fortresses by Russian troops, one of the components of which was the re-consecration of mosques in churches, such an assumption looks unlikely. Most likely, in 1770 in the Bendery fortress, as, for example, in Akkerman, the "guests" went exactly this way, adapting the stone mosque mentioned above as a church. Tiraspol local historian E. A. Lobanov states: “After the capture of the fortress in 1806, there again, for the third time [the first in 1770, the second in 1789], the main Turkish mosque was hastily converted into an Orthodox St. Alexander Nevsky Church.”
As you can see, these authors talk about two different mosques, and both of them are not marked on the mentioned plan of Bender in 1770. In addition, not a single mosque of the fortress, as, indeed, Akkermanskaya, is mentioned in the summary of the churches of Bessarabia, "converted" from the Muslim temples of I.N. Khalippa. Therefore, the author can only try to solve this problem, using both written and cartographic sources. Regarding the latter, I would like to emphasize that, unlike Ackerman, Izmail and Ochakov, Bender's published plans of not only the Ottoman but also the post-Ottoman period are rare and (or) insufficiently informative.
As for documents on the topic, even well-known and published official papers, as well as a number of unique eyewitness accounts, have not yet been included in its historiography.
Let's move on to the characteristics of the first, emphasizing that the earliest of them date back to 1789. On November 7, on the third day after the surrender of Bender, the commander-in-chief, Prince G.A. Potemkin attended to the spiritual life of the troops and part of the local population. In a letter to Archbishop Ambrose, he said: “Of the mosques that are here, I have chosen the two best for conversion to the church. Your Eminence, deign to consecrate one of them as a cathedral in the name of the Holy Great Martyr and Victorious George; name the other as you see fit; but that they should be prepared for this, I gave a command.
His Serene Highness wrote the second letter to the Armenian Archbishop Joseph: “I entrust all the Armenians who are in the lands now acquired by the victorious weapons of Her Imperial Majesty to your flock. Your Eminence, do not leave to make an order for a better organization of this people and for the suppression of various abuses that took root between them during the reign of the Turkish. I ordered one of the mosques located here to be turned into a church for the Armenian confession, about which I inform you with special respect.”
Everything said on the same day was formalized by a special order signed by G.A. Potemkin: “Of the two mosques I have chosen, one large one is assigned to be converted into a cathedral church, and the other will also be converted into a church, both of which I prescribe to clean and prepare for consecration. In addition to the two mosques described above, two more are appointed for churches, one for the Roman Catholic confession, the other for the Armenian, which are entrusted for this: the Armenian one - to Archbishop Joseph, and the Roman confession - to the priest Skirnevsky. A week later, the prince reported to the empress that next Sunday "in the church of St. George, facing from the main mosque, we will sing thanksgiving prayers."
Other mosques in Bendery were less fortunate, since in the order of the commander-in-chief, Lieutenant General M.N. Krechetnikov on November 12 said: “Entrusting Your Excellency with the command in Bendery, I have to prescribe the following: order the Pashas appointed here to divide the empty houses in the suburb and in the fortress, if they are found. Unnecessary people should not be tolerated in the city, and especially volunteers, from whom thefts and riots occur. Turn huts, shops and mosques on the outskirts into residential areas. In the village of Talmazy, located near Bendery, I will place a few [troops] in order to save the [city and fortress] from ruin. Turks, until they get out, to be satisfied with provisions from the store ... When the Turks leave, clean everything and keep it neat, I will order the workers to pay.
An analysis of these important documents for the study of our topic allows us to conclude that GA. Potemkin ordered all mosques in the outskirts to be converted into housing for Russian troops and four mosques were re-consecrated: the Cathedral mosque into St. George's Church and three more into Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic churches. Let's try to establish which mosques were meant and where they were located.
Full description of Bender 1789 by L.P.B. Campenhausen, which as an application This article is published in Russian for the first time, contains a description of the Great or Cathedral Mosque with two circular balconies on the minaret and even its name Munkar-Hamid. It gives the total number of mosques in the city and the fortress - 12, the names of two more of them - Dagestan and Sultan Selim, and mentions the "miserable building" of the Armenian church (in the suburbs -?). But it has one drawback - the informant did not even hint at their location.
The situation is partly clarified by the “Plan and profiles of the destruction of the Bendery fortress, blown up by mines in April from August 22 to August 5, 1790”, but before moving on to it, let's decide on the bindings, one of which is the fortress gates. On an unpublished plan of 1770, seven gates are marked - Istanbul or Tsaregradsky (near the southern corner of the fortress) and then clockwise - Ordynsky, Varnitsky, Kamenetsky, Water, Small Water, Tabatsky. According to L.P.B. Campenhausen names and order are as follows: Istanbul or Constantinople, Kozhevnikov, Varnitsky, Water, Large or Main, Military and Stone. The plan of 1790 gives the following list: Tsaregradsky, Ardynsky, Varnitsky, Vodyanye, Kamensky and Tabatsky. As you can see, the locations and names of only three gates of the Upper Bastion Fortress are more or less unambiguously determined - Istanbul (since 1806 they were called Kaushansky), Horde (Military) and Varnitsky, which, together with the citadel, will serve as our main landmarks.
According to the plan of 1790, the “Cathedral Church of St. George in the Fortress” was located to the right of the entrance through the Istanbul Gate, 25 sazhens. to the NE from them; the stone church of the "Holy Trinity", consecrated from the mosque - on the street from these gates to the citadel, 25 sazhens. to the SW from the entrance and a stone Armenian church, also consecrated from a mosque - 90 sazhens. from the southwestern corner bastion (Fig. 4), in the same place where the “stone mosque” was noted in 1770. I note that there is no Roman Catholic church on the plan of 1790, but there are 4 more mosques inside the fortress:
- At 80 sazhens. to the NE from the inner wall near the semi-bastion No. 2;
- At 60-65 sazhens. to the E-SE from the Military Gates;
- At 90-95 sazhens. to E-SE from bastion No. 5;
- At 70 sazhens. to the south-southeast from the Varnitsky gates.
I note that the mosques present in the drawing of the fortress can be compared: the first on the left - with the Cathedral Mosque at the Istanbul Gates; the second - with a stone mosque of the plan of 1770; the third - from the mosque No. 3 of the plan of 1790 at the Military Gates.
If we add two more temples in the towers to those listed, as well as 2-4 mosques in the suburbs (completely absent in the figure), then the figure of 12 mosques given by L.P.B. Campenhausen should be recognized as quite accurate. I emphasize that this is the largest number of simultaneously operating mosques in one city of the North-Western Black Sea region, exceeding the similar indicators of Ochakov, Akkerman and Izmail, not to mention Khadzhibey, Kinburn and Berezan and others.
The following chronological data on Bendery temples refer to the first decades of the Russian period in the history of the region, which began with the capture of the Bendery fortress without a fight in November 1806. Above, we talked about the point of view of E.A. Lobanov, that this time the “main Turkish mosque” was turned into a church, which stood “30 sazhens to the west of the citadel” . However, we already know that in 1790 there was another mosque on this site, which was re-consecrated into the Trinity Church. In 1812-1813. the same temple, but already called Alexander Nevsky, was described as a church "cathedral, consisting inside the fortress, converted from a Turkish mosque, a wooden structure, strong, rich in sacristy, utensils and books", consecrated in 1809.
The history of this church, which was called the Bendery fortress already being in a new building, is described in a special essay. Here are excerpts from it: “The Bendery St. Alexander Nevsky Church” was converted from a Turkish mosque in 1807 by the zeal of Archpriest Stepan Shamrayevsky, who, as His Eminence Exarch Gabriel puts it in his letter to the commandant of the fortress, Lieutenant Colonel Chichagov dated June 23, 1809 ... “consecrated and with his labor he ordered and decorated” this church.
This church was a stone building and from the outside it looked like a two-story house with two tiers of windows, covered with tiles. The interior of the Alexander Nevsky Church was quite magnificent, two icons from the iconostasis that have survived to this day show that the painting on it was not alien to artistic art. In this church, an internal gallery for pilgrims (choirs) was arranged; Turkish banners were kept as trophies of victory in the church, and solemn parades were held in it [next to it].” In 1826, in connection with the decision to build a new building in another place (125-130 m south-southwest of the previous one), the altar of the church was temporarily moved to a residential building near the Varnitsky Gates. In 1828 the first stone was laid, and in 1833 the church was consecrated.
As for other mosques, two of them are mentioned around 1816 as "turned into stores" (warehouses), and a remark is made: “Inside the fortress, under the Turks, there were many buildings, both houses and shops, enclosed in cramped streets, but at the exit of them almost all the buildings were broken, and the pasha’s magnificent palace was also destroyed.”
Separately, it should be said about the former Cathedral Mosque with two (?) minarets, on the wall of which a Russian officer in June 1819 copied a marble plaque with a five-line inscription, the drawing of which with the caption “Above the mosque standing at the Causeni Gates” is placed on the famous table “Coats of Arms, inscriptions and others carved on stones in the walls of the fortifications of the Bendery fortress. Apparently, it was this inscription “in golden letters with verses from the Koran” that L.P.B. Campenhausen. I emphasize that one minaret of this particular mosque was preserved for more than a century after the capture of the region by the Russians, as evidenced by a photograph taken no later than 1928.
And now let's characterize the churches of Bender, which were built specifically for Christian services, immediately noticing that they were all located outside the fortress walls.
In 1812-1813. there were two of them: the Dormition “Greek, wooden buildings, strong, with sacristy, utensils and books,” consecrated in 1798 and Nikolaevskaya “wooden buildings, strong, sufficient with sacristy, utensils and books”, consecrated in 1808. The first of them , which existed even under the Ottomans, it would be easiest to associate with the church in the drawing of the 1740s - 1760s, but in the historical essay dedicated to it it is written that it was located not to the west of the Military, but 250 sazhens. south of the Istanbul gates. “It was an ordinary house, the walls of which were made of wicker brushwood, covered with reeds, differing from others only in comparative size, and also in the fact that a small wooden cross was erected on its roof. The interior of the church, with its squalor, was in complete harmony with its external appearance. The remaining fragments of the iconostasis, stacked in the vault of the Bendery Cathedral, testify to the roughness of the carving and painting about the poverty of the Assumption Church. The tabernacle of this church was wooden. The Assumption Church was demolished in 1828 and a small stone pyramid was built on the site where the altar stood.
On July 26, 1815, the church elder Vlashchitsky reported to Bishop Dmitry of Bendery and Akkerman that “the churches of Bendery - Nikolaevskaya and Uspenskaya, located on the fortress esplanade, are subject, by order of the chief military authorities, to breaking or moving to another place, but like both of these churches, brushwood and covered with reeds, therefore, inconvenient to transfer, the parishioners agreed to build a new cathedral, three-altar, stone church in honor of the Transfiguration of the Lord instead of them. Soon after the construction of the Transfiguration Cathedral began, the St. Nicholas Church was demolished.
Already in 1816 - early 1820s. there were three churches on the outskirts of the Bendery fortress: Assumption, Nikolaevskaya, an Old Believer stone chapel, a Jewish synagogue, and, possibly, an Armenian church . In 1825, not far from the location of the Assumption Church, the building of the Transfiguration Cathedral was completed, in which there were three thrones: Preobrazhensky, Assumption and Nikolaevsky.
By the end of the 1850s, there were two Orthodox churches in Bendery (the Transfiguration Cathedral in the city and Alexander Nevsky in the fortress), a new "Roman Catholic chapel built at the expense of the commandant of the fortress, Lieutenant General Olshevsky" (for military personnel, in the fortress), Old Believer chapel (in the city) . The synagogue is not named in this source, although "four Jewish prayer schools" are mentioned in it.
This is how the history of Bendery temple buildings looks like. It shows that during the Ottoman period until 1806, there were 12 mosques in the fortress and the city of Bendery, the remains of two of which (the earliest in the name of Sultan Suleiman, in stone towers) have survived to this day. Now we know for sure not only the name of the Cathedral Mosque (Munkar-Hamid-Jami) and its place at the Istanbul Gates, but also the names of two more temples - Dagestan-Jami and Selim-Jami. Most likely, these three mosques (each at least once) were re-consecrated into Christian churches in 1770, 1789 and 1807. One of them, located near the entrance to the citadel (Sultan's Selim Khan -?) was destroyed in 1826-1830 in connection with the construction of a new building of the Alexander Nevsky Fortress Church, and the minaret of the Cathedral Mosque was preserved until the end of the 1920s. In addition, today we have data that from the end of the XVIII century. in the southern suburb of Bender there was a Greek Church of the Assumption, and perhaps another of the same denomination even earlier, but in the western suburbs.
It seems appropriate to conduct archaeological excavations at the sites of these buildings in order to locate them more accurately, as well as to install memorial signs marking the locations of both Muslim and Christian shrines.
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