Author: Pierce (Peter) Balthazar von Campenhausen Peter entered military service in St. Petersburg (1786), participated in the war with the Turks near Ochakov, Akkerman, Bendery, and was in charge of foreign correspondence in the office of Prince G. A. Potemkin. After the war, together with the Izyum hussars, he lodged in the Dnieper region, participated in the Polish war (1792), suppressed the uprising in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus (1794), served in Smolensk, from where in 1797 he was transferred to the Riga Cuirassier regiment, from which he was demobilized the following year. Peter devoted the last 10 years of his life to writing and publishing scientific and artistic works.Published as an Appendix to the article by I. Sapozhnikov "Mosques and churches in Bendery until the middle of the 19th century" in the scientific quarterly journal "Eminak" No. 4 (20) October-December. Kyiv-Nikolaev, 2017 pp. 74-75
Bender [Bender] - the capital of Bessarabia is located on the Dniester ... The fortress is notable only for the huge moat that surrounds it, since its fortifications were built very unreasonably. She surrendered during the last war, because the pasha, who commanded in the city, and the serasker, who commanded the camp outside, were at enmity with each other. The Janissaries, on the other hand, were mainly engaged in trade and trembled for their rich stores.
We [the Russian army] found here 300 cannons, of which 50 were iron, as well as 25 mortars and 3 howitzers [howitzers]. The fortress was provided in abundance with gunpowder, cannonballs, rice, food, etc. Among the guns was one 12-pounder, which was presented to Emperor Leopold I by the city of Landau. On the muzzle of this unicorn was the inscription in German "Antoni Uth het mik gegoten" ("Antony Ut cast me"). Next to the fuse hole was a lime-tree crown and the words "Fusum est hoc tormentum bellicura tempore judicis Goldschmittii pro suae patriae gloria et memoria 1646". Also, I noticed that one mortar was made in Venice. On the inner wall of the castle or Ancient Fortress (Itsch Kalasy), there are two inscriptions. One of them is half-erased, except for a few words and the Hijri year. The other is made in Arabic and is translated as follows: “Built by order of the Istanbul padishah Bayezid [Beyza-Devoly] under the rule of the padishah, Sultan Selim Hazi (1) [Selim I, Yavuz (Grozny) - ?; 1512-1520 R.Kh.]”.
All Turkish emperors call themselves Istanbul or Constantinople, as seen on the "lion piastres" or kurushes [kyrus] and on the double piastres. The city of Bender has 2 suburbs, 12 mosques, 6 khans or inns and 7 gates.
The names of the gates are as follows: Stambul Kapisy or Gate of Constantinople [sic]; Tabany Kapisy or Tanners' Gate; Varnitza Kapisy or Varnitsa gate; Su Kapisy or Water Gate; Ulu Kapisy or Great [Main] Gate, Army or Military [Orda] Gate and Tasch Kapisy or Stone Gate. Two of these gates have inscriptions, one of which I will translate, partly because it is a good example of [writing] of the Oriental style, and also because it says: the city of Tegin was taken not because of treason, as the Hungarian historians claim, but as a result of the assault (2). Below is its literal translation: “I, by the mercy of the highest, the first in the world of all emperors, the sultan, born of God and his prophet Muhammad, the interlocutor of the Lord, the conqueror of the world, the governors of Peter and Bogdania. I am Suleiman, the imprint of the banner of the temple of the only God, I wrested the fortress of Tegin and its garrison from the king of Germany. I took it by storm, in the presence of my invincible army. And I ordered, taking stones from the castle of Palanca, to build this wall and gate, and call the fortress Ben-Derim [Ben-Derim]. In the year of Hijri 965 [AD 1558]."
People gather at the main mosque, which is called Munkar-Hamid [Muynkar-Dgaramid], only on Fridays. This mosque is considered a cathedral in which one is allowed to pray for the Sultan. The second mosque is called Dagestan [Dagestan-Metsched], and the third - the mosque of [Sultan] Selima [Selima Metsched]. All the rest are of little importance.
150 Armenian families [live] here. Their church is a miserable building. I saw their wedding - a crowded procession through the streets. The men walked slowly away from the women. Two torches were carried before them. About 20 paces behind them walked two boys in a white, gold embroidered dress and carried wax candles. Behind them were the groom three young men, also in a white dress. In his right hand, the groom had a cane, decorated with white ribbons. Behind him walked the bride in a red silk veil that completely covered her; it was led by two young girls. The procession ended with a crowd of women who let out loud, plaintive cries. The priest, who walked at some distance in front of the bridegroom, raised his staff up and repeated some words every five minutes. They all walked so slowly that their steps were barely perceptible.
The streets in Bender are extremely gloomy, narrow and dirty. The impurity inherent in Turkish cities is almost unbelievable, and forms a striking contrast with the frequent ablutions that govern the Mohammedan religion. Dead horses, bulls, dogs, etc. lie and rot in the streets, and perhaps to a large extent breed the plague that so often devastates these countries.
The inns [caravanserai], called khans by the Turks, are large square buildings that somewhat resemble monasteries. Most of them have two floors. Their windows overlook the courtyard, which is surrounded by a high wall. In these khans there are a large number of small chambers [rooms] that have no connection with each other and can be reached from a long gallery or corridor. Travelers live in them, and foreign merchants put goods up for sale. They do not have any furniture. All Turkish houses are built fragile and unable to withstand bad weather in a hard winter. They have long corridors leading from one end of the house to the other, on each side of which there are rooms that look like cells in a monastery. The walls of the rooms are neatly inlaid with various types of wood and have many small cabinets [low cabinets] studded with brass nails. Near the stove is usually a large cauldron set into the wall, containing warm water for the Abdest or abdest, or ablutions prescribed by law. Each room also has a niche [nich] or a small toilet [closet] in which the Turks wash themselves and where there is a sewer to get rid of the dirty water. Low sofas stretch along all the walls of the rooms. For noble persons, they are painted and covered with carpets, velvet and gold brocade. Among the poor, they are usually made of clay and painted with dark yellow paint. A few inches above the sofa are very wide windows, covered with paper soaked in wood oil. Glass is considered a luxury, I have seen them only in mosques and the houses of some nobles. The authorities of St. Petersburg often send window glass as a gift to the Sultan. The glass in the Munkar Hamid Mosque is about three inches in area. Doors of houses in Turkish cities are decorated in a special way. They are usually equipped with two, three or more locks and upholstered with tin, sometimes completely. Those who cannot go to such great expense pound the doors with many brass nails.
The Great Mosque [Munkar-Hamid] is the most beautiful building in Bender, it is 58 steps long. A verse from the Koran is inscribed in golden letters above the doors. Directly opposite the door in a niche on a chain hangs a metal washstand, which the Turks call shadrivan [schadrivan]. To his left were images of the Kaaba and the grave of Mohammed, but they were removed when the Russian troops arrived here. To the right of the shadrivan there is a small pulpit, resembling a guardhouse, in which the imam stands when he reads the Koran. Ten steps lead to it, covered with a red cloth. The floor of the mosque is covered with beautiful carpets, and sofas are made along the walls. In the middle of the building is a dome adorned with a mahogany star and Quran verses written in gold. Under the center of the star hangs a copper chandelier, called a sherfe [scherfe] (3), on the branches of which are suspended several hundred glass lamps of various colors, which are never lit, except on the holiday of Bayram. In this case, each person present in the mosque had to pay a few parahs [parahs]. Several ostrich eggs and artificial flowers made of tinsel or gold leaf are suspended above the sherfe. Near the pulpit, on the wall, a prayer against the plague is written, and next to it is a colored image of Aliyev's saber [the sword of the prophet Muhammad, who passed to Ali ibn Abu Talib]. The Turks use only three colors in wall painting: blue, green and yellow. I saw here a large hall, on one wall of which there was a drawing of a tree, and on the other side something blue was depicted, similar to a ship. The minarets are tall, thin, aiming at the sky, and their tops are upholstered with tin. They are built, as a rule, of stone and stand a few steps from the mosques. I have seen only one exception to this [rule], which I have already mentioned [in Ackermann]. Inside, they have a spiral staircase that reaches the highest point of the building. There, on the outside, there is a balcony from which the imam calls to prayer or announces death. For this last service he is paid a kurush [dollar], which is equal to about four shillings. The two galleries of the main mosque in Bendery are built with a certain taste, and the gaps [between them] are decorated with blue glass [mosaic smalt], which creates a good effect when the sun is shining.
The clergy (imams, and among the Tatars mullahs) are remunerated in part by alms, what they receive from the flock for performing the duties of priests, and also from the schools in which they teach young men (each of which pays two pairs a week). Every Muslim during the Great and Small holidays of Bayram [Kurban Bayram and Uraza Bayram] is obliged to give a certain part of his property [zakat] to mosques. In addition, the imams enjoy the income from each burial (nikia), circumcision (sikunnet) and marriage (masut). When a wealthy Turk dies, 10 or 12 people are hired to wash his body; and the imam, meanwhile, reads prayers. At the birth of a girl, the imam reads the prayer Alla Gebker [Allah is great] in her ear and gives her a name. The contempt of the Turks for everything that concerns other nations is so great that they do not know the events that have happened before their eyes.
They did not hear anything about Charles XII. Only the pitiful ruins of the house in which he lived here and his camp in Varnitsa are the only monuments to the monarch, who for several years filled the Russian Empire with anxiety and aroused the admiration of Europe. Two small [earth] mounds cover the remains of Colonel Müller (4) and Baron Stein, who served in the army of Count Panin and died during the first siege of Bender, when the city was taken.
- 1. If this unpreserved inscription was read correctly, we can say that at least the archaic octahedral tower of the Bendery castle (No. 6) was built in 1512-1520, and the rest of the towers and walls of the citadel later, under Suleiman the Magnificent, which confirms the information of Evliya Celebi 
- 2. The source of this information is not named.
- 3. Most likely, we have a mistake, since “şerefe” is a circular balcony on the minaret, as well as honor, dignity (in Turkish).
- 4. Apparently we are talking about Colonel Matthias Miller, one of the commanders of the assault column, who died during the beginning of the assault on the fortress in 1770 (note by site admin)
A collection of descriptions of cities and fortresses in Moldova and Ukraine by Campenhausen was published in the Journal of Recent Travels for 1810. Publishers F. Schroeder and N. Gray. St. Petersburg, 1810 Reviewed in the journal “PIVDENNIY ZAKHID. ODESIKA” HISTORICAL AND LOCAL SCIENTIFIC ALMANAC VIPUSK 22. Odesa, “Drukarskiy dіm”, 2017