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city and seaport, Crimea republic, southern Ukraine, on the western shore of the Strait of Kerch at the head of a small bay. Founded in the 6th century BC by Miletan Greeks, it flourished as a trading centre, and in the 5th century it became the capital of the kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus. Abundant archaeological evidence of its wealth occurs in catacombs and burial mounds, notably the King's Mound. Later a part of the Roman Empire, Panticapaeum suffered severely from barbarian invasions and was devastated by the Huns in AD 375. After a checkered history, it was ceded by the Mongols to the Genoese in 1318. It was then known as Korchev (Italian: Cerco, or Cerchio), from which the present name was derived. In the 15th century Kerch passed to the Turks, who lost it to the Russians in 1774.