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Sakura Tur » Welcome to Moldova » Excursions » TIGHINA (BENDER) FORTRESS





Tighina (Bender) Fortress

Tighina fortress was built in one the most powerful of the medieval cities of Moldova – Tighina, which was an important trade outpost. Originally built as a small wooden fort by Stefan cel Mare, it was fortified with stone during Petru Rares’ rule, just was Soroca fortress.

In 1538, the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent conquered the town, and renamed it Bender. Its fortifications were developed into a full fortress under the same name under the supervision of the Turkish architect Koji Mimar Sinan. The Ottomans used it to keep the pressure on Moldavia.

In the 18th century, the fort's area was expanded and modernized by the prince of Moldavia Antioh Cantemir, who carried out these works under Ottoman supervision.

In 1713, the fortress, the town, and the neighboring village Varniţa were the site of skirmishes between Charles XII of Sweden, who had taken refuge there with the Cossack Hetman Ivan Mazepa after his defeat in the Battle of Poltava, and Turks who wished to enforce the departure of the Swedish king. During the second half of the 18th century, the fortress fell three times to the Russians during the Russo-Turkish Wars (in 1770, 1789, and in 1806 without a fight).

Bender Fortress is an architectural ensemble of irregular quadrilateral plan, surrounded by wide walls, 2-3 meters thick, made of limestone and brick. The fortress has 10 artillery bastions at the corners, 11 towers, and 6 gates. It is surrounded by a moat of stone. After the last battle of the Russo–Turkish War, in 1806 the city was acquired by the imperial Russian military authorities, becoming "legitimate” master here in 1812, after the occupation of Bessarabia.


60 km distance to Chisinau


© Sakura Tur