The Watch

Tyras-Belgorod Fortress

Belgorod-Dnestrovsky, Ukraine

2004 World Monuments Watch

For centuries the fortress of Tyras-Belgorod has watched over the calm waters of the Dniester Estuary. Founded in the sixth century B.C. as the Greek city of Tyras, the site was mentioned by Strabo, Ptolemy, and Pliny. The ancient site encompasses the preserved remains of houses, paved stone streets, gutters, headquarters of a Roman garrison, and fortifications built of massive limestone plates unknown anywhere else in the classical world. Built in the Middle Ages, the fortress functioned as a military post for Byzantine, Moldavian, Turkish, and Russian forces until the early nineteenth century. With three gates, 20 towers, a defensive wall, and a moat, Tyras-Belgorod is the only remaining medieval fortress in southwestern Ukraine. Since 1940, Tyras-Belgorod – now part of the modern city of Belgorod-Dnestrovsky – has been a designated national monument in the care of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine and the Ukrainian State Committee for Architecture, Construction, and Housing Policy. Over the past four decades, restoration work has been carried out on the site’s Greek remains, including the insertion of concrete supports along the estuary to protect the crumbling bedrock from further erosion. Due to lack of funds, however, an assessment of the physical condition of the entire site has never been carried out, nor has a comprehensive plan for shoreline stabilization been developed. Without these, it will be impossible to arrest further decay. Last update: 2004

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