Pictures of Khan's Palace in Bakhchysarai, Crimea, Ukraine

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Bakhchysarai was the capital of the Crimean Khanite, the state of Crimean Tatars, for three and a half centuries until it finally came under Russian rule in 1783. Today Tatars, who are mostly Muslims, make up approximately 12% of the Crimean population and are deeply wary of growing Russian nationalism that could propel Crimea to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

BAKHCHYSARAI, UKRAINE - MARCH 09: A bowl of fake fruit stands in the Drawing Room of the Khan's Palace, also called Hansaray, in Crimea on March 9, 2014 in Bakhchysarai, Ukraine.

a grand hall of the Khan's Palace

Stained glass decorates windows of a grand hall of the Khan's Palace

A mannequin stands in the Dwelling Room of the Khan's Palace

A fountain satnd in the middle of a room of the Khan's Palace

Visitors walk among buildings of the Khan's Palace.

the exterior of the Khan's Palace

The Orta Juma Jami Mosque stands in the historic district on March 9, 2014 in Bakhchysarai

the historic district of Bakhchysarai

TheBakhchysarai Palace of the Crimean Khans is a compact architectural ensemble, which consists of 17 buildings and 9 inner closed courtyards. The ensemble was not built in one day that is why the plan of the palace has complex configuration and contains components of different styles. The total area of the ensemble is about 500000 square meters(including 7190 mof the built-up area).

The initial complex of palace premises was built in the first third of the 16th century. The oldest authentic construction of the initial ensemble dates back to 1532, the first known written reference dates back to 1539. The complex was built as the main residence of the monarchs of the Crimean Khanate - the state of the Crimean Tatar people. In its original status the complex has been used for about 250 years, till the collapse of the Crimean Tatar statehood in 1783.

The architectural ensemble includes two religious buildings (Big and Small Palace Mosques), official halls (Hall of the Divan or State Council, Embassy Hall), living premises of the Khans, their retinue and families (Living and Retinue Blocks, Harem), recreational premises (Summer Arbor, Falcon Tower), subsidiary buildings (chambers for guards, bathes, stables, kitchen yard etc.), small architectural forms (fountains and basins) and closed inner courtyards with gardens and parks.

The architecture of the Palace reflects general cultural traditions common in the Middle East. They are in harmony with original local traditions of the Crimean Tatars. Decoration of the palace buildings and interiors represents various architectural and artistic styles which dominated in the Crimean Khanate art in 16th – 18th centuries. The Palace is the sole example of Crimean Tatar palace architecture, which has preserved.

Bakhchysarai palace of the Crimean Khans, which was the main residence of the state power at that time, together with the surroundings of the medieval town of the Karaits, was the political, religious and cultural center of the Crimean Tatar community in the times of the Crimean Khanate.

Bakhchysarai is a city in central Crimea, located in southern Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Bakhchysarai Raion (district), as well as the former capital of the Crimean Khanate. Its main landmark is Hansaray, the only extant palace of the Crimean Khans, currently opened to tourists as a museum.