Chersonesus Taurica is a polis founded by Greek colonists on Heraclea Peninsula on the south-western coast of Crimea. Today remains of ancient Chersonesus are located within Gagarin district of Sevastopol. For 2000 years Chersunesus Taurica had been a great political, economical, and cultural center of the Northern Black Sea coasts.
Chersonesus Taurica is one of the ancient civilization centers of the Northern Black Sea region. It was founded in 422-421 B.C. by colonists from Heraclea Pontica which was located on Asia Minor coasts of the Black Sea. Economical basis of Chersonesus were a developed diversified agriculture, including wine-growing and bread-making. Chersonesus was also an important fishing center. Salt was extracted in estuaries and lakes. Various crafts developed in the polis: ceramics, weaving, metal-working.
An intensive trade was conducted with cities of southern coasts of the Black Sea, eastern coasts of the Mediterranean; with Athens, Olbia. Imported goods consisted of various raw materials, nonferrous and precious metals, olive oil, marble, fabrics, red-figure pottery, glass crockery, jewelry. Exported goods consisted of agricultural cargoes, salted fish, fish sauces. Chersonesus also conducted and active intermediate trade. Citizens of Chersonesus offered various goods (wine, fish, crafted items) to Scythians and other tribes, and bought from them bread, cattle, leather, and slaves, which all then were sold to other Greek poleis.
Chersonesus was a center where science, arts, architecture, and military art developed extensively. The polis existed for over 17 centuries, and in 1299 it was destroyed during Mongol-Tatar invasion. In second half of the 15th century Chersonesus ceased its existence.
Ancient ruins of Chersonesus were research as early as in late 18th century. In 1892 a museum was founded on basis of archaeological excavations, and in 1978 the state historical and archaeological reserve was formed, which, in addition to ruins of Chersonesus, includes the following: remains of agricultural estate of “Kleros Heraclea”, as well as 15th century fortress Kalamita, Inkerman cave monastery of 8th-9th cc., and Genoese fortress Cembalo of 1357-1433 in Balaklava.
Area of the Reserve “Chersonesus Taurica” has a reconstructed St. Vladimir’s Carthedral, originally built in honor of the baptism of Grand Prince St. Vladimir the Great in Chersonesus in 988 A.D. and consequently the Baptism of Kievan Rus’. The Cathedral is built on site where St. Vladimir’s Monastery in Chersonesus had been built in 1850.
At present, a project if launched into development. This includes the State concept of developing the National Reserve “Chersonesus Taurica”, together with creation of archaeological park.
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