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Chersonesus

Chersonesus Aerial View

Chersonesus is an ancient archaeological site situated on the outskirts of Sevastopol. It was one of the largest ancient cities on Crimean Peninsula, Russia.

 

 

 
Location: Crimean Peninsula

 

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Brief History of Chersonesus

A sight of current of town of Chersonesus was occupied since the Stone Age, but its official history begins in the 5th century BC when it was founded as a Greek colony. The city flourished in the 4th and 3rd century BC. In the late 3rd century BC Chersonesus suffered several devastating raids by the Scythians. Residents of the city asked for help at the nearby Pontus State. After Pontus was destroyed by the Roman Empire and its last ruler Mitridatus committed suicide, Chersonesus became part of the Roman Empire and later Byzantine Empire. The city was completely destroyed in 1399 during Mongol invasion under leadership of khan Edigey. It was abandoned for centuries until first archeological digs were undertaken in the 19th century. Today Chersonesus is one of the most visited sites in Crimea due to its magnificent ruins, rich history and close position to Sevastopol.

 

It is also important to note that Chersonesus played and important role in the history of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. All three countries consider themselves a historic descendants of a medieval kingdom of Rus. In the late 10th century envoys from its capital (Kiev at the time) came to Chersonesus where they first encountered with the Greek Orthodox Faith, an official religion of the Byzantine Empire. Rus Prince Vladimir agreed to strike a peace treaty with the Byzantines, married a Byzantine princess and took a Christian baptism in the Chersonesus Cathedral. He also accepted Eastern Orthodox Christianity as an official religion of its people. For better or for worse, but this decision became the dominant force behind forming unique culture of Russian- Ukraine and Belarus, separate from the Western and Central Europe that accepted baptism from the Roman Catholic Vatican.

Main Signs in Chersonesus

Chersonesus

Cathedral of Saint Vladimir aka Admiralty Cathedral (Chersonesus)

Chersonesus Saint Vladimir

Cathedral of Saint Vladimir or Admiralty Cathedral in Sevastopol is a Russian Orthodox Church that was devoted to Russian duke Vladimir. He was the first ruler who officially accepted Christianity as a state religion. According to historic records Saint Vladimir was baptised in Chersonesus. The original basilica was destroyed, but historians in the late 18th and early 19th century identified largest church as the one that was possibly used for historic event.

 

The history of Saint Vladimir began in 1825 upon orders of Admiral A.S. Greig. After four years architect K.A. Ton introduced his draft for a Byzantine five domed cathedral. The project was approved, but the work didn't start for almost another two decades. Another Russian admiral Lazarev wrote a letter to government in Saint Petersburg asking for more Orthodox churches for growing Russian population of Sevastopol nearby. Six years later in 1848 the work on a new cathedral dedicated to legendary Russian ruler have began in Chersonesus. Admiral Lazarev died in 1851 and was buried in the underground crypt of the church that was still in process of construction. After Crimean War broke out in 1853 mausoleum of the Cathedral of Saint Vladimir became burring ground for other famous Russian admirals who were killed in action. This includes V.I. Istomin, V.A. Kornilov and of course P.S. Nahimov.

 

At the end of the Crimean War construction of the Cathedral of Saint Vladimir have resumed in 1858. It took another 30 years for the church to be completed. In 1862 its design was changed by architect Avdeev. He kept the original size, but removed four domes to give it a more Byzantine architectural style to fit possible appearance of the original church. In October 1881 lower church was consecrated in honor of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of sailors. The upper church was dedicated to Saint Vladimir in 1888.

 

Upon arrival of the Soviet Atheist government Cathedral of Saint Vladimir was closed in 1932. The building of the Orthodox church was changed into workshops for aircrafts of the Black Sea Navy Aviation and equipment warehouse. The building was badly damaged during World War II during Siege of Sevastopol. Restoration project began in 1966. Once restored it was turned into a military museum of liberation of Sevastopol. Only on September 19, 1991 the Cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. Underground crypts were marked by a large Christian cross in a shape of a black marble.

 

 

 

 

Fog Bell (Chersonesus)

Chersonesus Fog Tower

Fog Bell of Chersonesus is a modest sight, but with a lot of history behind it. Originally it was cast in 1776 from the captured Turkish cannons that were taken during successful military campaign of a Russian empress Catherine the Great. It was set here to warn passing ships of dangerous conditions during foggy periods when the visibility was minimal. During the Crimean War Chersonesus was occupied by joint British, French and Turkish forces. French soldiers removed the Fog Bell and brought back to France. Only during reign of Alexander III when the relationship between countries have softened up the Fog Bell was returned to its former location.

 

 

 

 


 

Transportation

 

 

Hotels, motels and where to sleep

 

 

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

 

 

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

 

 

Interesting information and useful tips

 

 

 

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