Pirates of the Caspian Sea

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If you look for the most enigmatical and mysterious sea on Earth, you would be surprised to find out that it is not close to the Atlantic empires, but to "land" countries such as Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, which do not actually have access to the open sea. Caspian Sea is sea only by name, but under the closer look it can outdo the glorious Caribbean’s pirates past, Bermuda islands with their terrible cinematic anomalies and enticing shipwrecks of Cyclades.

It is not a coincidence that the Caspian Sea was the first of the "Three Seas" that famous Tver merchant Afanasiy Nikitin fought for. I must say that Afanasiy did not plan to become the first Russian Indianist and his interests were not going further than banks of Volga. But merchant boats were attacked near Astrakhan and plundered by "Tatar pirates".

So true motives of Nikitin, who went on his historic journey "three seas" in winter 1467, were quite prosaic. "I went to India, because I had nothing to go to Russia with, no goods left..."

Although the case of Afanasiy has a very indirect relationship with glorious sea-lake, it tells us, at least, two characteristic and important features of "thousands of years around the Caspian Sea". First, sea-lake has been used as a natural way, linking many, often very distant from each other countries. Secondly, people perceived it as a sea, not as a lake - otherwise how to explain such a typically marine phenomenon as piracy? 

Apparently, filibustering-corsair Caribbean is no match comparing to the Caspian Sea by number of pirates per head. If these waters were in the interests of the American film industry, probably, today's teenagers and other film fans would expect the next series of "Caspian Sea" Pirates not "Caribbean".

Knowing the geographical specificity of the sea-lake, we can expect from it interesting features as to sea robbery. And they are! Piracy in these waters was engaged not only by coastal people of Caspian states, where this profitable line of business handed down from generation to generation with the all the tools and skills. Many distant countries equipped their pirate expeditions to Caspian Sea.

Who not only knew these places! Here were graceful rook ships of Slavs, flexible dragon ship of Vikings and unsightly boats of Cossacks, famous tramps of Deep Asia, who were dashing rogues at the beginning, settled down later and become faithful servants of the Russian monarchy.

The most famous Cossack is Stenka Razin; he threw all sorts of Persian princess about, he did not care. The fact is that in 1667 - 1669, "the ragged" under the command of Razin, thoroughly robbed the Caspian coast - from Guriev (Aktau) and Astrakhan to Derbent and Persia.

Interestingly, according to legend, one of the bases of dashing Ataman was the island Kulaly, which is located in The Tyuleniy Archipelago off the Tub-Karagan (Kazakhstan’s Cape) coast. Purely geographically, this historic rumor is quite believable; since, the old waterway from Yaik to Derbent and Baku passed through Tyulenev islands. So it was a perfect place to base piratical fleet. 

Name of legendary Razin is not separable from the stories about buried treasure, hidden by this "Captain Flint" all over Caspian, and not only where his foot stepped, but also where rumor overtook him. There are vague evidences that Kulaly is not exception.

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