Idea #524 – Visiting Soroca castle on the Amber route at the ukrainian borders
From the XIVth century, the city of Soroca was a Genoese stopover on the “route of the amber and the silk” between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. The fortress, built here in the XVth century in a strategic location, near a ford, controls the access to Ukraine, situated on the other bank. The castle was, with Hotin, Tighina and Cetatea Alba, one of four strengthened stopovers protecting the main fords of Nistre.
The river was used by bolozanes, river ship with ream and sail, escorting the amber and the furs of the Baltic Sea towards Trabzon and Constantinople, and the other way the silk, the pearls, the honey, the spices towards the countries of the North. Bolozanes, still having enough draft to cross fords in summer, in the low-water mark, unloaded their goods and to change boat, requiring a quite particular surveillance. The river also marked the border enter an urbanized and sedentary medieval world, on the West, of territories of endless steppes, travel by nomadic and invasive tribes, as Onogoures, Khazars, Pétchénègues, Coumans, Mongols or Tartars, then later Muslims.
The first mention of the castle is attested clearly in 1499 by the “pîrcalab” of the city, that is the commanding officer of a Rumanian principality. It succeeds a wooden work, formed by a rampart of earth fenced, doubled by a ditch. The fortress presents a total diameter of around thirty meters, whereas 4 round towers are 3 meter one diameter. Towers possess 4 floors, both first ones being of use as reserve to the artillery, the others to the infantry. Walls are 3 meters in thickness and were surrounded with a ditch in water, filled since. The gate tower possessed three successive doors, a harrow, and a drawbridge.
Where is it ?