Having ascended a big stair near the chalk cliffs «Bolshiye Divy» the tourists get on the top of the chalk plateau of national park Divnogorie. Then the path runs through a stretch of the feather-grass steppe, which is being restored, and abut on the hill with the remnants of the Mayatskaya fortress, which was built in the 9 century.
In the photo one can see the model of the fortress, which was a quadrangular encampment (80х95 meters), circled by the wall of chalk rock reaching the height of 6 meters. That’s why the fortress was totally white.
As is known, in the 9 century these lands belonged to the Khazar Khaganate, although some scientists date the fortress by the period of the Saltovo-mayatskaya culture, relating it to the extinct tribe of Alans. However, according to the most likely scientific hypothesis, it was one of the six similar fortresses, which defended the northern borders of the Khazar Khaganate from the raids of Slavonic tribes. They were located on the key land and water trade routes, and they were intended both for performing defensive functions and collecting the tribute from the trade caravans.
At present, the Mayatskaya fortress is of no particular interest for tourists as there remained of it nothing but the outlines of its ramparts. Archaeological excavations have long been conducted there: in 1906-09 and in 1975-82. Apart from the shards of pottery, weapons and decorations, particular for Khazaria, there were also found curious stones with runic inscriptions.
Now the space within the fortress is overgrown with grasses, with boards warning against walking on the ramparts. Before visiting the museum-reserve you should carefully examine its map, as besides the fortress, one can also look around the site of Mayatskoye settlement with a necropolis and potteries.