600 Years Bendery
The fortress of BenderyBendery, or Tighina so the Romanian name, celebrated recently its 600-year-anniversary. The city, located on the right bank of the Dniester, was gleaming brightly in new splendour: freshly painted historical houses, decorated streets, glossy anniversary posters all over and an outdoor museum of Bendery's history brought new glory to the city and its 94.000 inhabitants.

Bendery, meaninig "belonging to the Turks", always has and still does play a crucial geopolitical role in the region. First mentioned in 1408 in a Slavonic document, the city was part of the Moldavian Principality in the Middle Ages. Under Stefan Cel Mare's control, the famous fortress was built. Within the centuries Tighina belonged to the Ottomans, the Swedish Crown, the Russian Empire, Bessarabia and the Moldavian SSR. In 1992 the conflict with the independence-claiming Transnistria caused severe clashes in the city with several hundred victims. Today Bendery is under Transnistrian administration and forms the buffer zone between Tiraspol and Chisinau.

Click here to see glorious Bendery!

Comments (2)
2 Sunday, 05 April 2009 11:48
very nice article , Tommy
The Bendery Fortress
1 Thursday, 02 April 2009 21:43
Elena Bulbash
It is verry sad that first thing that comes to peoples mind when they are asked about Bendery is the Transnistrian confrontation with Chisnau. I must say that my big shame is that I never interested in its history. The Bendery fortres takes the important part in the history, not only Besarabia, but also in the history of the Russian empire. Here some historic facts about it.
Fortress was first mentioned as an important customs post in a commerce grant issued by Moldavian hospodar Alexandru cel Bun to merchants from Lvov on October 8 1408.In 1538, the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent conquered the fortress and renamed it Bender. In the 18th century, the fort's area was expanded and modernized by the prince of Moldavia Antioh Cantemir, who carried out these works under the Ottoman supervision. In 1713, the fortress was the site of a skirmish (kalabalik) between Charles XII of Sweden, who had taken refuge there with Cossack leader Ivan Stepanovich Mazepa after their failed attack on Russia, and Turks who wished to take him hostage and exploit the political difficulties of central Europe. Tighina fell three times to the Russians during the Russo-Turkish Wars, was annexed alongside with Bessarabia to Russia in 1812 and remained in Russian hands until 1918. As a part of Bessarabia, Tighina belonged to Romania between 1918 and 1940, temporary also between 1941 and 1944.
In the XVth century the system of fortifications situated along the Dnister banks played an important role in medieval Moldavia, because they served as defence line against the invasion on the eastern frontiers (Hotin, Soroca, Tighina, Cetatea Alba).
The fortress of Tighina is one of the oldest fortifications included in this system. Built on remains of an ancient settlement, Tighina Fortress is mentioned in the documents dating back to the times of Alexandru cel Bun (1408) as an important customs post. The frontier fortress was fenced with stone walls during the rule of Petru Rares in conformity with a special design which envisaged round and rectangular walls.
In 1538 the fortress was conquered by Suleiman the Magnificent, and was reconstructed to the design of architect Sinan, being turned into an Ottoman residence named Bender (turk. "port").
Consequently, the fortress of Tighina makes an architectural ensemble with a lay-out in the shape of an irregular rectangle fenced by wide (2,5-3 m) and high walls made of limestone and brick, with ten artillery bastions at the corners and eleven towers. The lower part of the citadel is reinforced by three walls and two towers of middle size. Inside the fort there are: a palace, dwelling house, shops, three mosques, artillery barracks and other structures and annexes.
During the Russian - Turkish wars the Tighina Fortress was three times conquered by the Russian armies (in 1770, 1789 and 1806). After the Bucharest Treaty was signed in 1812 Bessarabia was annexed to the Russian Empire and the fortress came in the possession of the Russian military authorities. Not far from the fortress there remained up till now the remnants of the war camp of Swedish King Charles XII who took his refuge here after the Poltava battle. Now, after 14th army has stopped the disposition in this fortress, the authorities restore it for visiting by tourists.
Thanks to my teacher D-l Lupassku, I have visited this fortress and have learnt a lot about it.

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