According to some data, the ancient city was named after «the river Panticapa passing by». However, judging by the origin of the word, it might have been the name of the strait as well, as its translation means «Fish Way» or «Sea River.» The first dwellers settled on the mount now called Mithridates. Gradually, they occupied and developed not only the mount and its slopes, but also the adjoining lowland.

Panticapaeum was the capital of the Bosporan kingdom for 850 years, and this period was considered to be its heyday. The city was the biggest center on the northern coast of the Black Sea. The fortification walls surrounded Panticapaeum Acropolis, the Royal Palace, majestic temples, and other constructions. The city square, called «agora», and the theatre were also located there. The walls surrounded not only the upper town, but also dwelling quarters of the citizens in the harbor. In it, behind the fortified mole, ships were sheltered and repaired.

However, the later centuries in the history of Panticapaeum were not as successful. Investigation into Pantica-peaum’s history is merited to several generations of archaeologists, beginning with P. Dubrux.

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Carlo Bossoli, Kerch 1855

Panticapaeum — Kerch

The Greeks from Miletus founded ancient Panticapaeum, the forefather of the modern city, in the early sixth century ВС. Being ruined in the fourth century AD by the Huns, the city gradually revived and existed into the medieval epoch. Kerch has always been ethnically multinational. Through centuries it belonged to different states, each time changing its name.

«Kerch»(«Kersh») became the name of the city in the 16th century. Under this name it joined Russia. In fact, it was a fortress at that time. In 1821 Kerch was united with Yenikale fortress and given the status of a city. Since then, Kerch began to be reconstructed according to the general plan worked out by the architect F. Shalle. Later, the plan was changed several times. As a result of its realization, there rose a city in the best architectural traditions of Russian classical style.

Kerch has always enraptured the contemporaries. It was called «small Odessa» and considered to be one of the best cities in the Crimea «judging by its appearance, well-planned and well equipped territory.»

Carlo Bossoli, a general view of the gulf of Kerch

Carlo Bossoli, a general view of the gulf of Kerch, 1855

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