Kertch (anc. Panticapceum or Bosporus), a city of Russia, in the Crimea, on the strait of its name or of Yenikale, commanding the entrance to the sea of Azov, lat. 45° 20' N., lon. 30° 28' E., 112 m. E. N. E. of Simferopol; pop. in 1867, 19,616. The place as it now stands is of recent date. It is handsomely built of stone, with wide and regular streets. It has been a free port since 1822, and is rapidly growing. The inhabitants are mostly engaged in commerce. The exports are building stone, soap, candles, salt in large quantities, and herring and sturgeon, the produce of the coast fisheries. The government has a foundery and ship yard here. The harbor is good, and is fortified. - Panticapaeum, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Bosporus, was founded by Milesians in the 6th century B. C, and was annexed to Rome by Pompey, 63 B. C. The Huns seized it about 375, and the Genoese in 1280. They were compelled to abandon it by the Turks in 1475. These were displaced by the Russians in 1771, to whom the place was formally ceded in 1792. It surrendered to the allied forces of France and England May 25, 1855, and was restored to Russia by the treaty of Paris, March 30, 1856. Kertch is still called Bospor (Vosfor) by the inhabitants of the Crimea. In the Italian charts of the middle ages it is called Pandico or Pondico, as well as Bospro or Vospro. Foundations of ancient buildings and heaps of brick and pottery are still scattered over the hill of Mithridates, on which Panticapaeum was situated, and at the foot of which Kertch now stands.
Among the numerous tumuli in the vicinity, the most extraordinary are those situated at the mountain called by the Tartars Altun-Obo. One of these is 165 ft. in diameter; a vestibule 6 ft. square leads into a tomb 15 ft. long and 14 ft. broad, which formerly contained the bones of a king and queen, golden and silver vases, and other ornaments. Below this tomb is another, and from the two 120 lbs. of gold ornaments are said to have been carried away at the conquest of the place by the allies in 1855. It is supposed that it was erected not later than the 4th century B. 0.