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Fortress of seven brothers and one sister

The Republic of Dagestan, Tabasaran region, village Khuchni

In several kilometers from Khuchni, in a place called Kharba-Guran, on a high abrupt hill above narrow ravine, there are remains of a fortress, known by people as “Fortress of seven brothers and one sister”. It is a wonderful historical and architectural monument of the early-medieval Tabasaran. The fortress represents an irregular shape of a trapeziform construction with powerful rectangular ledges at the corners.

Thickness of its walls at the foundation is about 2 meters. The most convenient, more mildly sloping way to the fortress is from the northern side; southern and eastern parts of the hill have steep drops to rivers. The fortress has two entrances: from the northern and eastern sides. The main entrance – from the northern side – flanked with two ledges. The middle height of the walls is about 8 meters; they get thin along the way to the top. There are loopholes, blocked with flat stones on the southern, northern and western facades. The entrances are also closed with heavy stone blocks 1,20 meters long and 0,5 meters high. The monument is constructed of rough-hewed stone and lime slurry.

A lot of legends are connected with this fortress.One of the legends narrates that once seven brothers, who were strong men and experienced warriors, settled down in the fortress on invitation of people of neighboring villages for their protection. These people supported the brothers, who defended neighboring villages successfully and repeatedly stood the sieges. The heroic brothers had the only one sister, who cooked food and did the housework. During a hostile siege the sister fell in love with one of the enemy’s fighters. The brothers defended the way to Upper Tabasaran from them. The beloved of the girl persuaded her to secretly pour salt water into the muzzles of rifles and to the scabbards of her brothers’ sabres. She did it, after what tried to run, but her brothers noticed her escape in time. Having known of her treachery, brothers threw their sister off a cliff. But when they saw, that their weapons were made useless, they left the fortress in a hurry, having devised all their property to the neighboring people: ground areas – to the villages Khanag and Ruguj, books – to the village Gasik, house belongings – to the people of Khili-Penjik. On the sister’s grave, by the road, near the fortress, there’s a stone hill until today. Every man who passes by it throws seven stones on the grave – as a sign of contempt to the traitress. And women who pass by it throw one stone off the grave as a sign of respect to the power of love.  

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