The History of Azov Fortress
My name is Maxim. I am from Rostov-on-Don. It is a historic place where a different sight has a tale to tell. This is one of such stories.
The first settlement on the site of modern Azov was founded by the Greeks before our era. It was the city of Tanais. For thousands of years, different people (the Sarmats, Huns, Khazars, Pechenegs) conquered this city, as it was at the crossroads of the main trade routes of Europe and Asia. In X century the ancient city was in the hands of Prince Vladimir. In 1067 it was conquered by the Polovtsy, and received the name which it has today - Azov (distorted "Аzаk", that means "river mouth" in the Turk language).
In the XII century the Genoese turned Azov into a large trade city. They surrounded the city by walls and towers. It later was captured by the Tatars, and in 15 century the Turks. They began to call the city Аdzak, banned all European ships to enter the Black Sea. It reduced the level of trade. In addition, when a sea route to India was opened, Azov finally lost the status of a major commercial port.
Europeans very quickly admitted Azov belonged to Turkey, but the Don Cossacks didn’t. The ban on sailing across the Black Sea prevented trading and "campaigns for zipuns", which meant to rob caravans and trade vessels. In 1637 the Cossacks took Azov, destroyed the whole garrison. In 1641 a huge Turkish-Tatar army during three months and a half had been besieging the fortress with the garrison of not more than six thousand people, but failed to capture it. This event got into history as "Azov sitting”.
Although the Turks retreated, the Cossacks understood that the war with Turkey couldn’t be avoided and turned for help to the Russian Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich. Russia didn’t want the war with Turkey, so the Tsar refused to make Azov the part of the Russian Empire. But he advised to leave the fortress. In 1643 the Cossacks did it.
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