Monthly Archives: October 2017

Traveling around Crimea Chapter IV

Tauric Chersonese, a Christian shrine

Tauric Chersonese, CrimeaThe Heraklion peninsula was inhabited by barbarian tribes named Tauri, who made predatory attacks from Balaklava bay on the ships of travelers. The ancient Greeks in 424/421 BC founded the Tauric Chersonese on the peninsula, which eventually became a large Black Sea state with a slave-owning democratic system. Chersonese was the second largest state in the Crimea after the Bosporus kingdom. In the 2nd century BC during the war with the Scythians, Chersonese became dependent on the Bosporus state, as it was unable to independently repel the Scythian raids. In the 1st century BC. Chersonesos lost its democratic form of government and became dependent on Rome, in the 5th century AD it became part of the Byzantine Empire.

Tauric Chersonese, CrimeaThe city was destroyed and rebuilt many times. In the 4th – 5th Tauric Chersonese, Crimeacentury it was destroyed by the Huns and in the 13th century – by the Seljuk Turks. In the 14th century Lithuanian princes invaded it twice and plundered Chersonesos. In 1399 it was destroyed by the army of the Golden Horde, leaving it in ruins.

These ruins were rediscovered after excavations by archaeologists at different times. Here you can wander through ancient streets, among the remnants of residential quarters paved with stone and touch the walls that form part of a diverse history.

Tauric Chersonese, CrimeaThe ancient amphitheater, the only one preserved in the territory of the CIS, was built around the 4th century BC, during the time of the Roman Tauric Chersonese, Crimeainvasion it was used for gladiatorial fights. The spread of Christianity began the decline of these ancient arenas, the amphitheater in Chersonesos eventually collapsed and later a Christian temple, excavated by archaeologists, was built on the site.

In 1935 the basilica, a medieval Christian temple, built in the 6th century on the site of a synagogue of the 4th century, was unearthed. For many centuries there were destructions and developments, one cultural layer replacing another, it is difficult to imagine how many generations and civilizations left their history on the Chersonesos stones.

Tauric Chersonese, CrimeaIn our time, Chersonese is a Christian shrine. In the 1st century the Tauric Chersonese, Crimeafirst followers of Christianity appeared and the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called visited Chersonesus with his sermons. In the 4th century, in the central square, seven temples were built on top of the old antiquities, where altars and statues of the gods were located.

In the annals of Ancient Russ, Chersonesos is mentioned under the name Korsun, the so-called ancient Rusich. In 988 the city was conquered by the army of the prince of Kiev Vladimir Svyatoslavovich, where he was baptized and converted into Christianity. After the excavationsTauric Chersonese, Crimea in 1827, a square was uncovered on the site of the temple, where this took place, which became an important part of Russian history and in 1861, in the presence of Emperor Alexander II, a neo-Byzantine cathedral was built there in honor of Prince Vladimir. During the Second World War, the temple was twice destroyed but by 2004, the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Vladimir’s was rebuilt.

Another interesting story is the bell that hanged between two pillars on the shore of Tauric Chersonese, CrimeaChersonesos. The bell was cast in 1778 in Taganrog from Turkish Tauric Chersonese, Crimeatrophy cannons, it depicts St. Nicholas and St. Phocas the patron saints of sailors. In 1803, by order of Alexander I, the bell was brought to Sevastopol for the church of St. Nicholas which was under construction. During the Crimean War, when the 349-day defense of Sevastopol was over, the British and French entered the city during the occupation and removed many valuable relics, including 13 bells from Sevastopol churches later taken to France. Before World War I, France, in order to enlist the support of an alliance with Russia, returned one of the bells, which was discovered in the Notre Dame Cathedral. According to documents, it was the same bell which was taken from Chersonesus. The bell was raised once again on the belfry of the Chersonesus Monastery, in 1925 it was installed back to its original place on the shore and survived the second defense of Sevastopol in 1941.

This was my first visit to Tauric Chersonese. I think that this is the most interesting preserved monument of ancient Crimea. Moreover, it is also important as a Christian shrine
“Not for the wordy agitation,
Not for the gold or bloody ways,
We have been born for inspiration,
For charming sounds and for prayers.”


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Traveling around Crimea Chapter III

Sevastopol, founded by Catherine the Great

CrimeaThe best beach near Sevastopol can be found in Uchkuevka, this place existed since the Middle Ages as part of the Mangup principality. In 1475 the territory came under Ottoman rule and became part of the Crimean Khanate. In 1783 after the Crimeaannexation of Crimea by Russia it became part of the Russian empire. During this time the city of Sevastopol was founded, not far from there near the ruins of the ancient city of Tauric Chersonesos on the Heraklion peninsula.

CrimeaOn this peninsula there are about 30 protected bays, which makes the place unique. The largest being Sevastopol Bay, extends about eight kilometers deep into the peninsula, known Crimeaby other names for 25 centuries and is unique in its shape, location and for navigation convenience it is protected from winds. It was therefore considered one of the most convenient in the world for the location of the military port. It is for this reason that this harbor was chosen for the establishment of a strategically important Russian fleet. Since the time of Catherine, the Great, the main naval base of the Black Sea Fleet of Russia has been Crimealocated there. By the order of Catherine, the city was called Sevastopol, meaning “imperial city”.

By the way, the most memorable sign in Uchkuevka is Catherine’s Mile, which has been Crimeapreserved in the village since 1787, when, in memory of the visit by the Empress Catherine, Prince Potemkin established white mile-posts every 10 miles, marking the Empress’s journey through the southern borderlands of the empire. Only five such pillars have survived in the whole of Crimea.

CrimeaFrom Uchkuevka our way to Sevastopol passed through the ancient city of Inkerman, founded in the 6th century by the Byzantines, who also built a fortress there called Kalamit for protection against invaders. Later, Christians built temples in the caves near Kalamit, that is why when the Turks conquered it in 1475 they re-named it Inkerman, meaning cave fortress.

After the re-annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, Sevastopol has been restored and all Crimearoads were repaired. Here, as in Russia, the president is revered, which is indicated by the numerous posters and portraits on walls of houses. Many local people say: ‘Anyone who was here in March 2014 will understand us …’

It is almost impossible to find another city in the world with a similar Crimeahistory. In the chronicles of Sevastopol – two great attacks on the city were heroically defended. During the Crimean War in 1853, when the combined army of France, England and Turkey, far superior to the Russian army, sent its fleet to the shores of Sevastopol Bay. The heroic defense of Sevastopol Crimealasted 349 days, the allies could not take this impregnable fortress, but the Russian troops still had to surrender the city for a while. Mark Twain wrote about the city that it looked worse than the ruins of Pompeii, not a single house was left standing. The second heroic defense of CrimeaSevastopol occurred during the Second World War after the invasion of the German army into Crimea. The defense of the city lasted 250 days (October 30, 1941 – July 4, 1942), after which the city had to surrender to the enemy and was eventually freed in 1944.

The largest number of monuments in the Crimea are to be found in Sevastopol, there are more than 2000 of them. The Tauric Chersonese is the oldest of them and perhaps, the most interesting …

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Traveling around Crimea Chapter II

The Martian Lake

The Martian LakeThe Martian lake is located between Simferopol and Bakhchisaray. Martians did not come here and there’s nothing here that could remind us of the red planet. The lake appeared on the map of Crimea quite recently and the history of its origin is very unusual.

In the village of Skalistoye there was a quarry, during Soviet times, Inkerman white limestone was mined there for the construction of Crimean palaces and embankments, a huge layer of which was discovered near the ancient Crimeacave city. Once the diggers accidentally broke through the underground spring, its course was disturbed and the water The Martian Lakegradually began to fill the pit. Powerful pumps were used to try and pump out the water but it continued to pour in. Soon, the quarry with snow-white shores was completely filled with crystal clear turquoise water. A lake was formed with an almost rectangular shape about 10 meters deep and it continued to expand …

The lake was called the Marble Sea and the Rocky Lake. But for some reason the most popular adopted name was the Martian Lake. No one can explain why, perhaps, because of the unearthly unreal beauty of the lake and because of the lack of vegetation around it, almost likeCrimea on Mars. Over time, the reservoir began to be surrounded by trees. Most likely, romantics have come up with such a name, because locals call this reservoir just a lake. In recent years, the ‘alien’ lake, as it is now known, has become a favorite holiday destination for many Simferopol citizens as it is not far from the Capital. Bathing in the turquoise transparent water of the Martian Lake cheered us up, it was unforgettable and incomparable with swimming in the sea.

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Traveling around Crimea Chapter I

The Suvorov’s Oak near White Rock

Belogorsk CrimeaThe Crimean Peninsula, in the form of a soaring bird crashing into the Black Sea, is washed from the east by the Azov Sea, the shallowest sea in the world. The beauty of its natural landscapes with three climatic zones blends beautifully with mountains on the seacoast which smoothly flow into the steppe. This blend of flat plains and forests, not only fascinates but borders on mysticism and mystery. Whoever has been touched by the mystery hidden in these gorges will want to return here again.

This summer, my friends and I traveled to some of our favorite bays, mountains and villages. But, first of all we went to see the birth of the new ‘road of life’, the “Tavrida”Crimea, which will incorporate the new bridge from the Taman Peninsula of Russia over to the Kerch Strait of the Black Sea, then through the Crimean steppe to Simferopol finishing in Sebastopol. The bridge will connect the peninsula, which was closed off by the Ukraine on the Perekop Isthmus, joining it to the mainland. The road is being built at a rapid pace and the first cars will drive over it in December of 2018. This event is awaited with impatience by the Crimean’s and all who love to visit this wonderful land.

We looked at the section of the new road Crimeawhich is under construction on the way to visiting the White Rock. Near the White Rock in the village of Yablochnoye grows a huge 18-meter spreading oak, with a trunk circumference more than 12 meters, whose age is about 800 years. It is also called the ‘Four Brothers’ because of the four branches that are fused together. The oak entered history as the Suvorov’s Oak, since the history of Crimea and with Russia began there. According to legend, in 1777 there was a meeting of the Russian commander Alexander Suvorov with the envoy of the Turkish sultan. The Turkish commander decided to intimidate Suvorov and, showing him a handful of poppy seeds, he said “Same as you cannot count the number of grains in my palm, so you cannot defeat my army”. To which Alexander Suvorov replied by showing a figure of three fingers using a pod of red pepper instead of a thumb. This being a very rude Russian gesture. The next day the Russian army surrounded the enemy which was four times greater and three days later the Turkish army fled from the battlefield by sea through the port of Feodosia. The following events led to the Crimean Peninsula being annexed to the Russian Empire.

Ak KayaThe White Rock is very recognizable as many films have been shot there. The rock rises 100 Ak Kayameters above the valley and seems out of place in this stepped landscape. The main rocks consist of nummulite limestone, which consists of spirally wrapped shells from the bottom of the ancient ocean of Tethys, preserved for millions of years and look like coins, the word Nummus translated from the Latin word coin.

The whimsical protrusions of the rock were formed by sandy corrosion, wind, rain and sun. Mountain hollows and ridges over many centuries have been shaped into grottoes and caves. One of the caves is 52 meters above sea level and at its base in years gone by, the ancient Sarmatian tribes lived there. On a small area in this place, archaeologists discovered 17 ancient White Rock sites and settlements. At the top of the rock, several burial mounds Crimeawere found, where the Scythian generals were allegedly buried. In the Middle Ages, the summit of the rock was also a place of execution. In the city of Karasubazar meaning market on the Black River, located on an ancient caravan route, there was a slave market, where Tatars brought slaves for sale after raids on foreign lands. It was from the top of the Ak-Kaya mountain, that sick and exhausted prisoners were thrown to their death.

Since the time of Catherine the Great, in the steppe Crimea around Belogorsk, village plantations with beautiful names like Aromatnoe, Tsvetochnoe and Crimean rose, began to grow essential oil plants like sage and mint. Passing through fragrant lavender fields our route took us through to Simferopol and on to the Martian lake.

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