Sudak Citadel Museum is one of the most famous objects in Crimea visited by tourists. Erected by the Genoese more than six centuries ago, the citadel over the past few decades, having the rights of a branch of the National Preserve named “Sophia of Kiev”, has gradually begun to take on a form similar to the original. The unique monument of medieval defensive art attracts more than 120 thousand people every year to admire. Extremely crowded happens during the days of chivalrous tournaments "Genoa Helmet", which are held here annually.
Sudak citadel is surrounded by high walls with battlements, massive gates reinforced with hard metal. The fortress is located on an impregnable gray rock, made as stately and powerful as before. At the first glance at the majestic citadel, it seems that the noise of the voices behind the fortress walls is the voices of the medieval horde of the inhabitants of Soldaya, continuing their familiar order of life, regardless of the centuries that passed.
Also, a stern guard meets visitors at the gate, as well as in the Middle Ages watching the territory of the citadel, so as not to miss the dodger who did not pay the fee. Before, every merchant who brought goods to Soldaiya had to pay a fee for entering the city. The fee was paid not by money, but by goods brought by merchants. For example, a merchant who brought firewood to the city for sale had to drop one log from his cart. The burden with the help of the “wooden tax” made it possible to heat social buildings.
But modern visitors enter the Sudak Citadel Museum, of course, through receiving an admission ticket, the one that is presented at the entrance to a stern guard dressed in shorts and a baseball cap.
The first steps to the fortress begin at the visitors from the entrance to the central gate, after visiting the Barbican. In the Middle Ages, this method of protection before entering the city was quite famous. In order to attack the city, had to get close to the city gates. But you could get there only through the semicircular platform of the barbican, with a width equal to the flight of the arrow. From two towers located above the city gates, because of the merlon teeth, archers fired on the enemy.
Walking along the central city square, tourists do not even suspect that there were once only buildings here. Deep beneath the layers of grass and earth hidden from the eyes of travelers, the remains of former structures, not as magnificent as the citadel itself, but, nevertheless, fulfilled the main functional values of a social nature. There was a Town Hall next to the market, near which there was a customs house and two temples. One was intended for Catholics, it was called Virgin Mary, the second - for the Greeks with the name Hagia Sophia. In those days, the territory occupied a little more than 20 hectares with a population of only eight thousand people, which for that era was considered an impressive figure.
Knight tournaments are held today in Central Square. From almost every territory of the former Union, participants come to the Genoese Helmet international historical fencing tournament. During the days of the tournaments, many tourists zealously go on interesting excursions to the citadel museum in order to see the scale of production battles, in which hundreds of knights participate, showing their agility and remarkable strength.
Participants of another festival, called the “Knight's Palace” demonstrate models of military clothing and various weapons, as well as various craft arts inherent in the most diverse nations - the Burgundians and Bavarians, Slavs and Scots, nomads and crusaders.
The Pasquale Djudice Tower is a brilliant example of most of the battle towers of the citadel, only it was fortunate to survive more than others. Three walls with four levels and with the entrance to the tower on the tier of the second level of the wall have survived. Weapons were stored in the lower level, probably there was also a guardhouse, as evidenced by the remains of the furnace for heating. The second tier was occupied by warriors who shot from bows and crossbows through tight embrasures. On the third level, the windows, on the contrary, were rectangular and much wider, they were intended for firing with giant crossbows, throwing logs and stone kernels weighing up to 6 kg. The upper level was also considered combat.
The surviving slab of the Pasquale Djudice Tower, laid at the beginning of construction according to the customs that existed among the Genoese, was able to convey to us very valuable information. According to the description on the plate of this tower, historians managed to read the date of the laying of the plate, which dates from August 1, 1392. The first plate was ordered to be laid by the esteemed consul of Soldaya - Pasquale Dzhudice.
Another, no less well-preserved building was presented to visitors by the Consular Palace, which, in addition to housing functions, was also defensive. The palace consists of 3 towers, the largest of which is nicknamed the Turks of Qatar-Kule or the Cursed Tower, probably because many Turks died there in 1475. According to existing legend, during the capture of the citadel by the Turks, the surviving defenders escaped by leaving the castle through an underground passage directly to the sea. The bursting Turks did not find a single warrior there ... Maybe it's just a tradition, like any other medieval castle, but there is a possibility that underground galleries exist.