About 60 epigraphic monuments   which have been preserved on the walls of the Bendery fortress, have survived. Most of them were not introduced into scientific circulation, until the study of the Bendery fortress  by Dr. Krasnozhon A.V. in 2010. These lapidary monuments - sculptures on a stone, mainly of the Ottoman period, were placed on the walls of the citadel towers, on the crownwork, above the gates, the greater part is located on the walls of the Outer fortress. Some of these unique monuments have been preserved in descriptions or in drawings.  One rare document - redrawing of images and texts from stone slabs from the walls of the Bendery fortress, is keeping  in the Russian State Military Historical Archive in Moscow, was  carried out by the Russian military in 1819, which also has images that have not survived to our day.

According to the scientists , the most famous such monument is the so-called Tarikh of Suleiman, which was previously attached to the southern (outer) facade of the Gate Tower of the citadel. A slab of Mediterranean marble measuring 54 by 70 cm. Judging by the pre-revolutionary images directly on the tower,  it was placed above the arch of the gate on the first layer of masonry wall. The second layer of the masonry, the so-called armored one, later formed a niche in which the plate turned out to be.

For the first time, the Turkish traveler EvliyaCelebi attempted to describe the Tarikh in 1657, who writes: “They [gate] are turned to the boat, and on them, on the quadrangular slab of white marble, there is tarith. But the plate is fortified very high and in a very crowded place ,  it was  impossible to read [the inscription], and I could not write it off. "

It is known that in 1917 the Russian engineer N.Ya. Marx made a good photocopy of this plate, which was published in his book in Odessa. Subsequently, all the researchers of this plate, in an attempt to decipher the inscription on it, were guided precisely by a picture of Marx.

photocopy of tarih from N.А. Marx 1917

In Romanian photographs of 1923, the marble slab on the Gate Tower is already missing and until the 1960s it is considered lost.

However, in 1969, a fragment of this plate entered the local museum, on which only three segments with Arabic lines, performed at a highly professional level in the form of two-line calligraphy, remained. The source of receipt is specified as Bendery fortress.  It is still unknown under what circumstances it entered the military part of the fortress and where the main part of the slab disappeared. It is assumed that part of the slab was kept in an improvised  military museum, during the period, when archaeological excavations were organized at the fortress by the Academy of Sciences of the MSSR under the direction of Hincko. Apparently he discovered this fragment and transferred it to the city museum. Although until 2010, scientists outside of Transnistria and Moldova did not know about the existence of this part of the plate.

Tarih shard in the local history museum of Bender

Subsequently, all the scientists working on the translation of the text of this plate, took as a basis the photocopy made by N.А. Marx. At the present time there are several of its translations, but in the end, everyone agreed on a single text, which will be given below. The date on the plate is important - 1538, i.e. date of the beginning of  the  construction of the Bendery fortress by the Ottomans. Since the time when a museum-tourist complex began to be created in 2007, a scientific department was formed, whose staff began to systematize all the available information about the fortress, including descriptions, images, photocopies, translations of lapidary monuments that were  preserved  on the walls of the fortress.

At the same time, the idea arose to recreate plates in the form of copies to be placed either in the museum of the fortress or in the places from which they disappeared without a trace. At first, of course, there was a desire to restore the most interesting monument- plate of Suleiman. However, in addition to the fuzzy image of this plate in the literature,  it was not possible to detect the very photocopy from the book of Marx or the book itself. Numerous attempts to recreate the text of the plate in the form of two-layer calligraphy, as it was on the plate, were also unsuccessful.

Only in 2016, when visiting the Bendery fortress, the scientist Igor Sapozhnikov and the director of the Odessa regional archive, Vladimir Levchuk, they were asked to try to find the Marx edition in the archives or libraries of Odessa. The request was heard and the only surviving copy of this book was found in the city library of Odessa. Igor Sapozhnikov kindly handed over the electronic version of this book to the scientific department of the Bendery fortress with a good photocopy of the required plate (picture above), as well as with his review of the book of Marx.

At the same time, the work on creating a copy of this plate began. Our partner firm in Tiraspol, Art-Style, took up about this slab using computer technology and 3D printing technology. The image was carefully drawn in vector format using Corel Draw, then a marble slab was purchased, on which a 3D image was cut out using a 3D router. Unfortunately, it was not possible to place the slab in its “native” place in the niche above the entrance arch of the Gate, due to the destruction of the niche itself and the need to repair it. Therefore, the plate was temporarily placed to the left of the gate, opposite the two-headed Russian eagle, symbolizing two epochs in history, - the Ottoman fortress and the Russian fortress. Already, according to a proven methodology, it is planned to make other copies of the lost plates.


TEXT from the marble slab above the central gate of the Bendery Fortress


I am the servant of Allah and the ruler of this world, the Sultan. Allah made me the faithful leader of the people of Mahomet; I am the favorite of the All-Merciful.

The wisdom of Allah and the miraculous power of Mahomet are my companions.

I am that Suleiman, in whose name Khutba in holy places was read

I am the one who sent the ships to the seas of Europe, Africa and India.

 I am the shah of Baghdad and Iraq, the king of Rome and the sultan of Egypt.

           I achieved the throne and the golden crown of the Hungarian king out of my sympathy and magnanimity, he is the obedient slave of the Sultan.

         As well as the governor Peter, the rebel of the many-spirited, I expelled. When dust rose from the horseshoes of my horse, I conquered Bogdan.

         Year 945, Hassan Bey, the new Kadi of Bendery, who strengthened the crossing, helped the sea whites.

I am Suleiman, a descendant of the Ottomans, who built a fortress and wrote a chronogram

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