Last weekend I traveled to one of the most beautiful and cryptic places of the Western Crimea - the Mangup-Kale Cave Town. I am really impressed!
We started our journey in Khodjy-Sala (Holy Village, turk), a small tatar settlement at the foot of Mangup plateau.
The single street of the village leads to a small man-made lake formed not so long ago, in 1983. Excavations discovered the ruins of medieval basilica surrounded with the remains of the village, but nevertheless the lake was formed, and the valuable archaeological finding appeared under the water. Now, after hot summer season, when the level of the lake drops, the top of the basilica appears above the water.
The aim of my journey is Mangup plateau on the top of Baba-Dag (Father Mountain, turk). Baba-Dag is 600 m above sea level, and it seemes to be created as a natural fortress: steep slopes slotted by the deep narrow gorges, and generous springs of fresh water on the plateau make this place practically inaccessible for the enemies. Here is the reconstruction drawing of Mangup-Kale made in 2008:
From the foot of Baba-Dag we can see the Leaky Cape (left cape on the picture bellow). This is the final aim of my journey.
The road dives into the wood. As far as I know, the woods around Mangup appeared only two centuries ago, it's rather young for these places.
The wood looks dark and mysterious.
Large stones appears near the trail. They promise soon approaching to the defend fortifications.