Cherkessk is the capital city of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Russia, as well as its political, economic, and cultural center.
What is now Cherkessk was established in 1804 as a Russian military fort on the Kuban River, what was then the border with Circassia, on the spot where in 1790 Russian troops under the command of General Johann Hermann von Fersen (Ivan Ivanovich Herman fon Fersen) defeated the Ottoman Batal Pasha. In honor of the victory over Batal Pasha, the fort was named Batalpashinskaya; it was a redoubt surrounded by an earthen rampart and ditch. (That the fort was named for an enemy leader may have led villagers to prefer the nickname Pashinka.)
The settlement itself was founded as the Cossack stanitsa
of Batalpashinskaya near the Russian Army outpost. The officially
recognized year of founding of Batalpashinskaya and modern Cherkessk is
1825. However, the Cossack settlers from the Khopyour and Kuban
regiments began arriving in the newly organized stanitsa not earlier than spring of 1826. In 1860, the village was designated as a center of a uyezd of the Kuban Oblast. A decree of 30 December 1869 by Tsar Alexander II transformed the village into a city of Batalpashinsk but the decree was never implemented, and Batalpashinskaya remained a stanitsa until the Soviet times. In 1888, the village became a seat of one of Kuban's seven otdels.
In 1922, the village became the seat of the Karachay-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast of the RSFSR, and in 1926, the Cherkess National Okrug. In 1931, it was granted town status and renamed Batalpashinsk. It received its current name of Cherkessk in 1939.
The city was occupied by the Nazi German Wehrmacht during World War II (the Great Patriotic War) from 11 August 1942 to 17 January 1943 as part of the Case Blue offensive. In 1957, it became the capital of the reformed Karachay-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast which became the Karachay–Cherkess Republic in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union.