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Kerch is one of the most ancient cities of Ukraine and Europe. Kerch as a city starts its history in 6th century BC, when Greek colonists from Miletus founded a city-state named Panticapaeum on the shore of Kerch Strait.
The city located at the intersection of trade routes between the steppe and Europe grew rapidly.
Panticapaeum, the predecessor of present-day Kerch city, subdued nearby cities and by 480 BC became a capital of the Kingdom of Bosporus. Later, during the rule of Mithradates VI Eupator, Panticapaeum for a short period of time became the capital of much more powerful and extensive Kingdom of Pontus.
The tourists are attracted to Kerch mostly to see “the Tsar’s mound” – a unique burial place supposedly for one of the kings of Bosporus which is dated by IV c. BC, an old Byzantine church of John the Baptist dated by VIII c. AD, and the Turkish fortress Yeni-Kale from the XVIII c. Another great attraction is the Mitridates Mountain – the center of the ancient Panticapaeum with its excavation sites, the replica of Demeter’s crypt of the II-I c. BC with a copy of beautiful Bosporus fresco paintings and an obelisk to the glorious dead who fell in WWII.
There is also the most interesting Kerch fortress – different from the Turkish counterpart, a huge military complex built by the Russians in XIX century as a protective fortification after the Crimean war. The Kerch fortress is to the south of the city center, while the old Turkish fortress is practically in the city now.
The cities was occupied by the English during the Crimean war of 1854-1856, so much of the archaeological artifacts from the period of the Kingdom of Bosporus were brought over to England and are now in the British museum.
During the WWII the city was occupied and largely destroyed by the Nazi. From that time the tourists are attracted to see the memorial of the famous Adzhimushkay catacombs (mines) in the city's suburbs where the guerrilla warfare against the occupation took place.
After the War the city was awarded the title Hero City for the heroic defense against the German Nazi troops.