The fortification of Russia's oldest city

Facts about Derbent City Wall & Citadel

Facts about

Russia  Country:
6 th century  Founded:
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Derbent City Wall & Citadel


The Citadel, the old town, and the fortress buildings of Derbent were part of the northern lines of the Sasanian Persian Empire, which extended east and west of the Caspian Sea. The town of Derbent was built between these two walls and has retained part of its medieval fabric. The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century.

40 km wall in the mountains

Derbent’s old town with the citadel, the wall, and other constructions cover an area of around 10 ha, extending additionally outward some 200 ha from there as a buffer zone. In Derbent, there are two walls that are located approximately 300-400 m apart. These walls also extend nearly 500 m (1,640 ft) into the Caspian sea to protect Derbent’s harbor.

Nine out of the original 14 ancient gates have survived until nowadays. During the wall’s construction in the late 6th century, the Sasanians employed dry brickwork and made blocks on the lime mortar. Originally 73 defense towers were constructed, and 46 of those were located in a portion of Derbent’s northern wall. An impressive mountain wall acted as a line of defense, spreading over a remarkable 40 km (25 miles) in a westward direction away from Derbent and through the Caucasian mountains.

Silk Road connection

After the Arabic conquest of Derbent, the city became a major stronghold of the caliphate in the Caucasus and an important military, political and ideological center. Derbent was the largest medieval port city, an important center of international transit trade between East and West, North and South, with boisterous craft production (pottery, glass blowing, metal, jewelry, stone processing and construction, weaving, carpet weaving, paper, silk, soap) and agriculture (farming, horticulture, cultivation of saffron, madder, cotton, linen, etc.). Caravans and ships arrived from Khorasan, Khorezm, India, China, Russia, and the Volga Bulgaria.

A witness to the era of the great migration of people, one of the main strongholds of the Great Silk Road and an outstanding monument of defensive architecture, the fortress complex of Derbent has safeguarded various empires over 1,500 years of its existence. It includes a fortress, Naryn-Kala, which are the two city walls, which completely blocked the passage and extended till the sea, forming a port.
In 2003, UNESCO recognized the old part of Derbent as a World Heritage site.

Visit the wall of Derbent?

Are you interested in traveling to Derbent to visit the wall, the citadel, and the old town of Derbent in general? Tell us about your wishes and get an offer without obligation.

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How to get there

Derbent city wall by car

By car

The Derbent City Wall is located in the old town of Derbent. It's recommended to explore this area on foot. 

Derbent city wall by minibus

By minibus

As the City Wall is located in the old town of Derbent, it is really easy to get there.

Derbent city wall by plane

By plane

From the international airport in Makhachkala, it's a 2 hours drive to the city center of Derbent.

Derbent city wall by train

By train

The Derbent City Wall is located in the old town and can be reached easily on foot.

Derbent City Wall & Citadel tours

Derbent City Wall & Citadel tours

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