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What is this symbol's history in the West? Mysterious symbol found in CrimeaMangup Kale, Crimea

To me it looks like the Sri Yantra of South Asia, Sri Yantra symbol

but Crimea is far from there. Was it distributed during early Indo-European migrations to both Crimea and India? Or, was it shared via trade routes during a later period? Or, as some have suggested below, is it a recent (post-globalism) inscription?


Alternate angle of symbol with Turkish caption below An informal translation of the above Turkish simply states:

Sri Yantra. Fertility symbol with 9 intertwining triangles. This mandala iconography combines the Flower of Life (sic), Lotus Symbol, and Four Directions Symbolism. Sri Yantra Inconography in Mangup Kale (Mangup Fortress), Crimea.

and thus doesn't seem to be of any help. Image retained for alternate view of markings.


The original intention with this question was: did this symbol started in India and later arrive at this site? Or, did it start with PIE (Yamnaya or similar) people and diffuse both to India and Crimea?

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    Wikimedia Commons claims in commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mangup_15.jpg that the image was taken in Mangup, Crimea. I think the question could be understood as whether this symbol has any relation to Crimean goths.
    – Pere
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 19:51
  • @Pere No, the first image definitely exists in the Gothic ruins at Mangup-Kale. I'm wondering how & when this symbol got there and thus whether it is indicative of an older IE culture or if it was transmitted to the goths via South Asians—or vice versa. I've long been skeptical of a close connection between Aryans in India and Germanic peoples, but this would indicate otherwise. Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 20:52
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    @RubelliteFae How do you know it "definitely exists" there or that it's Gothic? If it's from the link you gave, please edit the relevant sections on the symbol into the question.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 1:43
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    There are two of them at Mangul Kale and they aren't Gothic. It was an international trade route.
    – John Dee
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 2:13
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    The crispness of the lines, as opposed to the other graffiti, and the fact that it is drawn over what appears to be an electrical cable, makes me think that this is recent graffiti. The cross may be old.
    – Spencer
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 16:54

1 Answer 1

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I can't find any scholarship that really touches on this question, which honestly leaves me a bit skeptical.

A caption under this image in the Wikipedia article on "Crimean Goths" claims that it shows "Indo-Scythians/Śaka/Sarmatians on Crimea" but the footnotes provided don't support this.

It is true that Scythians and Sarmatians both had a historical presence in Crimea. This article lists them among many other groups to had a religious influence at some point in the region.

Crimea is an exceptionally interesting research area for religious studies scholars. This rather small region (25,900 km2) has been home to - one after the other or at the same time - Tauri, Cimmerians, Maeotae, Scythians, Greeks, Sarmatians, Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Jews, Krymchaks, Khazars, Karaites, Bulgārs, Kipchaks, Pechenegs, Slavs, Armenians, Tatars, Italians, and Turks. Each of these nations was frequently characterised by their own more or less strongly defined religious specificity.

Did any of these groups use the Sri Yantra or something like it? I'm not an archeologist and I'm not familiar with these cultures but I'm just not finding anything so far to indicate that they did.


EDIT: I agree with the comment above from @Spencer that a closer look at the photo suggests that this Sri Yantra is just a recent act vandalism. It is drawn over what looks like an electrical conduit, circled here in red:

conduit circled in red

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  • It's not a bad question. Feel free to accept my answer (green check mark) if you find it sufficient.
    – Brian Z
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 17:06
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    @RubelliteFae As far as I can tell, this Sri Yantra could have been drawn at that site in the 21st century. If you know otherwise please document this.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 12:40
  • Having read Spencer's recent comment above I would say I took the question too seriously. It is visually pretty obvious that Sri Yantra was drawn on this wall in modern times and is evidence of absolutely nothing.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 1:26
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    You might want to look at some location footage, You tube has several videos which are enlightening. Though I personally agree on the modern graffiti likelihood, this area seems to remote for 'electrical conduit' in the walls. Drone footage of the outside here, and a walkthrough by some kids exploring here don't show any electrical development at the site.
    – justCal
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 13:29
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    Having come back to this a couple years later I see what the mix-up was here. What people were calling "electrical conduit" is a channel dug into the stonework. It looks to me like the kind of channeling sometimes carved into rock structures to hold one end of a board that is mainly supported by vertical posts. You can also see other various slots for supporting beams. That so many people immediately saw conduit reminds me of when people see crater shadows at an angle other than down and get the optical illusion of them being convex. Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 20:15

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