Canike Hanım Türbesi

Chufut Kale, Bahçesaray, Crimea

On the plateau behind Chufut Kale: an hour’s strenuous walk from Salacık. If short of time, you can also drive, though the road is pretty rough – a good old-fashioned Larda is called for.

Toktamış, leader of the Horde, took refuge in the stronghold of Chufut Kale, or Kırk Or, as it was then known, in 1390 after his defeated by Tamerlane. The türbe (mausoleum) of his daughter Canike Hanım – or Nenkecan, as she is known by Tatars today – is a haunting reminder. Canike Hanım died in 1437.

Her mausoleum is an octagon in plan, like the tomb of Hacı and Mengli Giray Khan, constructed, or reconstructed, at Salacık in the valley below Chufut Kale. It stands on the plateau outside the walls of Chufut Kale, with cliffs on either side – truly a tomb with a view. It is in excellent condition and is one of several fine examples of the Seljuk architecturural style in Crimea (see Oleksa Haiworonski). The portal is decorated with stone carving and flanking mihrab niches.

The Seljuk-style mosque inside the fortress is now in ruins but architectural fragments excavated in 1928–29 date the building to 1346.

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