Crima: Bakhchisaray – Khan’s Palace
Crimea was ruled for nearly four centuries by a succession of Crimean Khans as the Crimean Khanate – direct descendants of Chengis Khan of the Golden Horde of the Mongol Invasion of the 14th century. The Crimean Khanate was a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. Its capital was in Bakhchisaray in the central mountains of the peninsula and a magnificent Palace was built to rival that of Tokapi in Istanbul or Alhambra in Spain. To this day, it’s one of the best preserved Islamic-era palaces in Europe. The Palace has multiple minarets and richly-adorned harem rooms. One of the main attractions in the Palace is the Bakhchisaray Fountain, immortalized in a poem by Pushkin – a sad story of the Khan falling in love with one of the harem girls (a polish girl named Marina) and the losing her when another harem wife from Georgia (Zarema) killed her. Depressed, the Khan built a marble fountain that would constantly weep. I guess it’s a cautionary tale of the dangers of polygamy.