from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
coat of arms
coat of arms
Federal district North Caucasus
republic Dagestan
Urban district Derbent
mayor Imam Jaralijew ( acting )
City since 1840
surface 70  km²
population 119,200 inhabitants
(as of Oct. 14, 2010)
Population density 1703 inhabitants / km²
Height of the center m
Time zone UTC + 3
Telephone code (+7) 87271
Post Code 36860x
License Plate 05
OKATO 82 410
Geographical location
Coordinates 42 ° 4 '  N , 48 ° 17'  E Coordinates: 42 ° 4 '0 "  N , 48 ° 17' 0"  E
Derbent (European Russia)
Red pog.svg
Location in the western part of Russia
Derbent (Republic of Dagestan)
Red pog.svg
Location in Dagestan
List of cities in Russia

Derbent ( Russian Дербент ; Lezgian Кьвевар K'vevar ; Azerbaijani Dərbənd ; tabassaranisch Шагьур Šag'ur , Цур Cur , Цалли Calli ; Dargin Чулли Culle language ; Lakish Чурул Čurul ; persian دربند, Darband ; also arabic باب الأبواب Bāb al-ʾAbwāb , "Gate of the Gates" and in Azerbaijani Dəmirqapı , "Iron Gate" ) is the southernmost and at the same time oldest large city in Russia . It is located on the southern edge of the Russian republic of Dagestan on the coast of the Caspian Sea and has 119,200 inhabitants (as of October 14, 2010). The name Derbent comes from Persian and means "locked gate".

Name and age

The place was known by numerous names throughout its history. In his geographical work Geographike Hyphegesis from the 2nd century AD, Ptolemy mentions four coastal cities in Caucasian Albania : Albana, Gaitara, Gelda and Telaiba . One of these was probably Derbent, but all attempts at interpretation so far have remained hypothetical. In Byzantine chronicles the place that was a little south of today's Derbent is called Tzor, Tzour, Tzur or Tsur . In Armenian chronicles the place is called Čor or Čoł . The city takes its present name since the end of the 5th century / early 6th century n. Chr., When the city from the Persian Sassanidenherrscher Kavadh I was reestablished. However, some sources assume that it was conquered under Jasdegerd I at the end of the 4th century or under his grandson Jasdegerd II in the middle of the 5th century.

There is disagreement about the age of the city. While local patriots would like to certify the place an age of 5000 years and more and traces of settlement have been found, it is disputed whether the place has existed without interruption. Researchers assume that the place has been continuously populated at least since it belonged to the Caucasian Albania in antiquity. That is why the city, which is also the oldest city in Russia, celebrated its 2000th anniversary as a continuously populated place in 2015.


The place is on the Caspian Sea near the border with Azerbaijan . It has a seaport and is located along the route from Russia to Azerbaijan and on to Iran .

The coastal strip between the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea has been known as the “Gate of Derbent” (often also referred to as the “bottleneck”) since ancient times . This has always been a convenient trade route from the North Caucasus to the Middle East. Several times it was also the gateway for Russian armies to Persia . At the narrowest point, at three kilometers, is Derbent.

The natural ground relief offered the settlement safe protection. The hill on which Derbent was built is bordered by the sea in the east and by a deep gorge and the steep slope of the hill in the south-west.


Bronze Age settlements ( Kajakent and Dschemikent ) can be found in the area around Derbent, while in the city itself traces only go back to the 1st millennium BC. BC back. The first fortified settlement was built in the late 8th and early 7th centuries BC. On the top of the hill. It was already more than four hectares in size and controlled the passage between the mountains and the sea. The formation of fortifications is probably related to the increasing raids of the Scythians across the Caucasus to the Middle East.

Remains of the Derbenter fortress in winter

Although the city has been raided frequently, as archaeological finds suggest, Derbent was able to thrive and expand. In the second half of the 1st millennium BC The city had an area of ​​at least 15 hectares. At that time it belonged to the Caucasian Albania , a state that was established in the 8th century BC. In the East Caucasus. With the campaigns of Pompey in Asia Minor against the Pontic king Mithridates VI. The knowledge of and interest in Derbent grew among the Romans . Emperor Nero planned a campaign to Derbent in the 1st century AD, but this had to be canceled due to domestic political events.

In the first centuries of the 1st millennium AD, Derbent rose to become the most important trading center of the Caucasian Albania. Strabo reports of camel caravans that moved with Indian and Babylonian goods via Derbent to Sarmatia . With the beginning of the migration of peoples , Sarmatians and Alans settled in the Derbent region. Towards the end of the 4th century, the Huns also settled north of Derbent .

Meanwhile, in the 3rd century AD, a new powerful state, the Sassanid Empire , emerged in the Middle East . After victories over the Romans and Armenians, the latter extended his power to the Transcaucasus. First attempts to subjugate the Derbent region (especially under Schapur I , 240 to 272) failed. In the middle of the 4th century, however, the Sassanids were able to increase their influence on the Caucasus, so that at the end of the century they also controlled Derbent.

Middle of the 5th century, the Sassanids built the fortifications Derbents out that the only passable passage of a long wall system from the northern steppes nomads was and received its Persian name in Sassanian period. The stone walls, some 4 m thick and 18 m high, have been preserved to this day. In total, the walled area was 150 hectares, and although the entire area was not settled in Sassanid times, Derbent was an unusually large city for the early Middle Ages . In addition, it was expanded according to plan and had a water pipe. Trade and handicrafts flourished in the city.

In 642 the Arabs conquered Derbent for the first time, 654 again, but were ousted again by the Khazars . The war between the Khazars and Arabs dragged on, but in 728 the Arabs were able to take and hold Derbent. Under the Arab commander Maslama one was Friday Mosque built. The locals embraced Islam , and Derbent became a major center of Islam in the Caucasus.

View of Derbent

One of the most important sources for the history of Derbent in the Middle Ages is the anonymous Arabic historical work Taʾrīch Bāb al-Abwāb ("History of Derbent"). It has not survived on its own, but only in quotations from the Ottoman historian Müneccimbaşı (17th century), which Vladimir Minorski edited and translated in 1958. This work shows that in 869 Hāschim ibn Surāqa, an Arab from the Banū Sulaim tribe , became ruler of Derbent and made himself independent from the Abbasids . His descendants, the so-called Hāschimiden, ruled the city and its surroundings until 1077. The Hashimids expanded Derbent further, renovated damaged buildings and created new ones, including a. Houses of prayer. In the 10th century, the city already exceeded Tbilisi and Ardabil in size.

The Friday Mosque in Derbent
Caspian gates

At the beginning of the 13th century, the Mongols invaded the Caucasus. In 1222 they conquered Derbent, but did not keep it occupied until 1239. Many of the city's monuments were destroyed. In 1395 Timur Lenk had Derbent devastated and burned down. In the centuries that followed, Derbent suffered from constant conquest and destruction. The Mongolian successor empires were replaced by the Persians, but their rule was again interrupted by the Ottomans in 1578–1606 and by the Russians in 1723–35.

In 1735 it became the capital of the Derbent Khanate , a khanate under Persian suzerainty, in 1796 it was occupied by the Russians in the Russo-Persian War and finally assigned to the Russian Empire in the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 .

Derbent was considered to be the center of the Jewish population of Dagestan - the mountain Jews who spoke deed made up the largest group of the population here after the Azerbaijanis. After the collapse of the Soviet Union , most of the mountain Jews emigrated to Israel.

Population development and structure

year Residents
1897 14,649
1939 34,052
1959 47,318
1970 57.192
1979 69,575
1989 78,371
2002 101,031
2010 119,200

Note: census data

In 2002, out of a total of 101,031 inhabitants in Derbent, the Lesgier or Lesginen made up the largest proportion of the population with 32,955 inhabitants (32.6%), closely followed by the Azerbaijanis with 32,064 inhabitants (31.7%). The Tabassarans made up a further considerable part of the population with 15,606 inhabitants (15.4%). All other groups were below 6%.


The most important branches of industry today are mechanical engineering and the textile industry, with fishing playing an important role.

In the 19th century was an important center of Derbent madder -Anbaus. When artificial madder dye was soon introduced to Russia after the first laboratory synthesis of alizarin in 1869, madder cultivation around Derbent came to a complete standstill, which resulted in major economic losses.


Derbent has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2003 , its fortress and the city-walled old town with the citadel, baths, cisterns and mosques are worth seeing. Russian scientists used muon tomography to explore a cruciform structure under the fortress that could have come from a very old Christian church.


Further educational institutions in the city are:

  • Derbenter Humanities Institute
  • Derbenter Institute for Art and Culture
  • Branch of the Dagestani State University
  • Branch of the Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Computer Science Derbent
  • Branch of the Dagestan State Pedagogical University
  • Branch of the Moscow Institute of Entrepreneurship and Law


Derbent is on the railway line to Baku . There are direct trains to Moscow , Astrakhan , Baku, Grozny , Rostov-on-Don and Brest in Belarus.

At the time of the Soviet Union there was also a direct rail connection to Tbilisi. Derbent is connected to the Dagestani capital Makhachkala by local trains that run two to three times a day. The rest of the public transport is mainly covered by shared taxis ( marshrutkas ).

The nearest airport is in Makhachkala.

sons and daughters of the town


  • Vladimir Minorsky: A History of Sharvan and Darband in the 10th-11th Centuries . Cambridge 1958.
  • Wladimir I. Markowin and Rauf M. Muntschajew: Art and Culture in the North Caucasus , Leipzig 1988, ISBN 3-363-00361-7

Web links

Commons : Derbent  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Itogi Vserossijskoj perepisi naselenija 2010 goda. Tom 1. Čislennostʹ i razmeščenie naselenija (Results of the All-Russian Census 2010. Volume 1. Number and distribution of the population). Tables 5 , pp. 12-209; 11 , pp. 312–979 (download from the website of the Federal Service for State Statistics of the Russian Federation)
  2. Справочник "Дербент" ,
  3. a b Derbent , (= Kawkaski Usel ), May 27, 2003
  4. "Darband" Articles in EIR ,
  5. Darband ,
  6. "Darband" Articles in EIR ,
  7. ^ A b Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress Buildings of Derbent ,
  8. a b История Дербента ,
  9. Derbent - 2000 years ,
  10. Article in the fourth to last paragraph
  11. See Minorsky 20, 41.
  13. Researchers discover one of the oldest churches in the world in:, July 12, 2019.
  14. Сенченко Владимир Петрович , (Russian)
  15. Юсуфов Игорь Ханукович - биография , (Russian)
  16. Лентапедия / Юсуфов, Игорь , Lentapedia (Russian)