Christian Caucasus

The combination of her deep religiosity and keen eye to the aesthetics of ruins account for Praskovia Uvarova’s utter fascination with the Caucasus. She traveled there regularly, worked with the curator of the Caucasus Museum Gustav Radde, and edited multiple volumes dedicated to Christian archeological finds.

Kelasuri Wall

The Kelasurskaia Tower was part of the great Abkhazian wall, fortifications ordered by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century to protect the Black Sea port of Sukhum (currently the capital of the breakaway republic of Abkhazia) from invaders from the Northern Caucasus. Construction continued on the wall til the 17th century, and much of it still remains.


The medieval capital of the short-lived independent kingdom of Armenia, Ani lay in ruins when it was rejoined to Christian Armenia following the Russian defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1878. King Ashot III had relocated his capital from Kars to Ani in 961, but it enjoyed only a brief heyday, as successor King Gagik II succumbed to Byzantine forces in 1045. Sent there first in 1892 because he was one of the few Russian scholars fluent in Armenian, Nikolai Marr made the ruins his centerpiece for creating archeological museums in situ.


The capital of Bulgaria on the Volga from the 8th-15th century, the ruins of this city intrigue because of the other Bulgaria, the one on the Danube. Similarities in language break down according to religious influences, Byzantium on the Danube and Islam on the Volga. Arab traders wrote about Bolghar, which profited as a trading center after the Mongol conquest in the 13th century. The ruins were rediscovered in the 18th century and visited by both Peter and Catherine the Greats, further testament to the perrenial empire.


A city of Golden Horde, circa 13th-14th centuries, which played a major role in the trade between Idel-Ural, the Caucasus, and the Black Sea region, but was sacked by Tim in 1395. An important archeological find on the Kuma River, the ruins include buildings, public baths, water pipes and workshops; it minted its own coins, 1311. Ibn Battuta described it: I then set out for the city of al-Māchar, a large town, one of the finest of the cities of the Turks, on a great river, and possessed of gardens and fruits in abundance.

Stone Babas

These stone statues date from the end of the 6th century until Islam conquered the Steppes in the 13th century.

Sudak Fortress

A Genoese fortress, on the northern Black Sea littoral. The complex of fortifications in this area dates 6th-16th centuries.

Toprakkale Fortress

A fortress built by Urartan King Rusa I, 735-713 BCE, although it did not prove stout enough to protect Urartu from Assyria.

Bibi-Khanym Mosque

The ongoing absorption of Central Asia into the Russian empire, especially from the 1860s, mandated that archeologists identify the Muslim antiquities, especially on the sites along the old Silk Road. Veselovskii played the primary role in this, and the wealth there made it quite vulnerable to both thieves and forgers. This mosque was one included in his album Mosques of Samarkand (1905). ordered built by Tamerlane in 1399, by 1897 it had fallen victim to natural forces, and the cupola had collapsed.