Bakhchysarai is an urban-type settlement 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.
Located in a narrow valley of the Çürük Suv river which is known as an old local center of civilization (the first artifacts of human presence in the valley date up to the Mesolithic). The settlements which existed in the valley before Bakhchisaray was founded - Qırq Yer fortress (modern Çufut Qale), Salaçıq, and Eski Yurt—are nowadays incorporated into the urban area of the modern Bakhchisaray.
Bakhchysarai, first mentioned 1502, was established as the new khan's residence by the Crimean Khan Sahib I Giray in 1532. Since then, it was the capital of the Crimean Khanate and the center of political and cultural life of the Crimean Tatar people. After several wars with Russia from 1737 when Burkhard Christoph von Münnich burnt down the capital of Khanate and occupation of the Crimean Khanate by the Russian Empire in 1783, it was turned into an ordinary town, having lost administrative significance. However, it remained the cultural center of the Crimean Tatars until the Sürgün (deportation on 18 May 1944).