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Makhachkala – Capital City of Dagestan Republic

Located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, Makhachkala serves as the capital city of Russia's Dagestan Republic. The city was initially founded as a fortress in 1844, being granted town status in 1857. While the town of Makhachkala has a comparatively recent beginning, the nearby town of Tarki, which has become a suburb of the city, dates back to at least the 15th century, with some scholars of the opinion that it is even older than that. According to oral tradition Tarki was established on the site of Samandar, the settlement which served as the capital of Khazaria up to the early 8th century, but the site of Samandar has not been confirmed, and so the history of Tarki open to correction.

One of the main landmarks of the city of Makhachkala is the Makhachkala Grand Mosque, which is said to be modeled in the style of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque located in Istanbul. Reportedly financed by Turkey, and consecrated in 1998, the building can accommodate up to 17,000 worshippers, and is one of Russia's largest mosques.

Makhachkala has had many names during its history. The original Russian name of Petrovskoye was in honor of Peter the Great who visited in 1722. Locals continued to refer to it as Anzhi-Qala, the Arabic and Turkic terms for 'Fortress'. In 1857, the city was renamed Petrovsk-Port, and in 1921 the name was changed to Makhachkala. After briefly being changed to Shamilkala in the mid-1920s the city's name reverted to Makhachkala and has remained as such to the present day. During the Russian Civil War (25 October 1917-October 1922) the British No. 211 Squadron Royal Air Force and No. 266 Squadron were based in the town for a time, bombing Bolshevik forces from this position. Both squadrons were withdrawn in 1919.

Today, visitors to Makhachkala will find a modern city with a strong infrastructure served by the Russian Railways, the Uytash Airport and the Caspian Sea International Port. The climate is subtropical in summer, with cold winters influenced by the conditions in the Caspian Sea basin. The Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water on Earth when measured by area. Its salinity, which is around one third of most seawater, classifies it as a sea, but it has also been categorized as the world's largest lake.


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