Saray, the capital of the Golden Horde

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At the time of its heyday, Saray was the capital of the Golden Horde, a territory that occupied much of European Russia, yet since 1501 there is no trace of it.

The words of Ibn Battuta

“First we headed to Ukak, a city of medium importance, well built, with great resources but with a very harsh climate, which is ten days’ walk from the sultan’s capital, al Sara.”

Ibn Battuta

Saray, the palace of the Golden Horde

The name of the city, “Saray”, is a Turkish word of Persian origin which means “palace”, which very well identifies the fate of this place, destined to change location several times over time. The Old Saray will in fact be founded in 1240 by Batu Khan, founder of the Golden Horde, and was located near today’s village of Selitrennoye, located on the Akhtuba river. His successor, Berke, will however want to change its location and for this he will found Nuova Saray, which should be located in the current city of Kolobovka, about 150 km away. Under the Golden Horde it became one of the most important commercial centers in all of Europe, counting about 600,000 in its moment of maximum splendor.


The problems will come, however, with the end of the khanate and with the subsequent passage from hand to hand to the various lords who will succeed it. New Saray, however, will suffer the first heavy blow from Tamerlane who in 1395 will arrive here and burn the whole city. However, this will be rebuilt, but from that moment on it will suffer more and more attacks, so much so that since 1501, the year in which it was definitively conquered by the Crimean Khanate, there are no more traces.

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