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Treasures and masonries of Bosporan Kingdom
The Golden Ring of the Bosporan Kingdom tourist project, which brings together the most interesting monuments and artifacts of antiquity from ten cities in four regions of Russia, holds its first summer season. Hundreds of Russians and foreigners took part in it and discovered ancient Russia. Travel agencies participating in the project opened the bus and sea tours of the "Bosporan" cities lasting from three days to a week.
The reporter of Russkiy Mir, who joined one of the tourist groups (the project is very anticipated by the public), found out that the traces of antiquity were preserved in Russia not only in ruins and shards. He saw the Bosporan finds of archaeologists and builders of the Crimean Tavrida highway and watched the ancient tragedy in the ancient Greek amphitheater.
Photo credit: About Crimea website
Contemporaries of Homer
When the legendary poet Homer, one of the main creators of antiquity, wrote his epic poems and sang about mythical heroes in the 8th century BC, his fellow tribesmen actively conquered the northern territories. The process that went down in history as the Great Greek colonization had a great influence on the fate of Europe. The territories that are now part of modern Russia were also on the ancient Greek maps. The archaeologists excavated cities founded by the Greeks in the Crimea as well as on the territory of the Krasnodar Territory and the Rostov Region.
Homer. Photo credit: ngradio.gr
Tens of thousands of objects, including priceless ancient treasures, excavated buildings and cities tell visitors of Russian museums about the times of the Greek colonization and the Kingdom of Bosporia, formed there in the 5th century BC. with the capital Panticapaeum, located on the territory of modern Kerch.
Russia acquired its antiquity relatively recently, less than two hundred years ago, when the archeological excavations of the Bosporan heritage began, which continued under all rulers and regimes, and are still under way. Therefore, the leading archaeologists, historians and museum workers of the Soviet Union, Russia and foreign countries can be called the co-authors of the project.
Ancient monuments of the Crimea and other southern regions of Russia are not new to the public. They are widely known both to scientists and curious tourists. The uniqueness of the new route is that it has united museum projects that have developed separately for centuries and decades. The participants of the route had the opportunity to plunge into the history and culture of the Kingdom of Bosporus for a week or several days, learn about the state structure and interaction of ancient cities, see the monuments and excavations and learn the latest underground news from archaeologists. They also had the chance to try ancient Greek dishes and wines (the “Bospor menu” was presented in June), touch the visual, musical and theatrical art of the Bosporan kingdom.
It is possible to create your own route to Bosporus cities or choose a ready-made tour to your taste and wallet on the site of the project. The first tours from Krasnodar, Sochi and Novorossiysk were organized in the spring. Some travel agencies told the Russkiy Mir that this season they were running a route to study demand, organizing 1-2 exits every month, and the route would be fully operational next summer. It is already clear now that there will be no lack of visiting groups, there is a demand from tourists.
On the streets of the Bosporan capital
The reporter of Russkiy Mir joined the tourist group in the Crimean part of the journey. Prior to that, the tourists who had started from Sochi, visited museums and ancient excavations in Sochi, Gelendzhik, Anapa and Taman.
“I am delighted, the reality exceeded my expectations,” one of the tourists Tamara Suslova told us. - I used to spend vacations in Sochi and in Anapa, but now I have opened them in a new way - thanks to the guides. I became interested in the ancient Greek theme last year, when I visited the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. Seeing the ancient Greek vases there, I was very surprised that they were found in the Crimea. For me, this was a revelation. Having learned about the opening of the Golden Ring of the Kingdom of Bosporus, I decided to go, and now I have discoveries to make every day. ”
Mount Mithridates. Photo credit: crimeaburo.ru
Tourists were brought by bus to the Kerch mountain Mithridates, where the remains of Panticapaeum laid. Several people, not being afraid of the heat, volunteered to climb the tall stairs, admiring the Crimean bridge. Among the maze of ancient stone walls, two columns on the mountainside attracted attention. These are prytaneum (that is, an analogue of the city hall of Panticapaeum), reconstructed by scientists forty years ago - this year the columns were recently restored. It was interesting to learn that both the prytaneum and the walls of the capital of the Bosporus are made of shell rock, which modern habitants of Kerch use to build houses.
The modern “ruler” of Panticapaeum is located not at the foot, but at the very top of Mount Mithridates, where temples and altars were situated in ancient times. He has binoculars, a security guard uniform and a loud voice. “A man in a blue T-shirt, do not walk on masonry, you are in a museum,” his official instructions are heard on top. The man told Russkiy Mir that he welcomed the development of thematic excursions, since such tourists treated the above “masonry” much more carefully.
Excavations in Panticapaeum do not stop. This summer the archeologists found ladders and cisterns for water and food storage there.
Panticapaeum. Photo credit: wikipedia.com
In Kerch, the guest of the Kingdom of Bosporus has a unique opportunity not only to touch the ancient Greek walls, but also to climb under the ancient vaults. This can be done in the excavated burial mounds - in the vicinity of Kerch there are more than one and a half thousand, but only tens of mounds have been investigated by archaeologists. Two of them are open to the public. At the entrance to “Tsarsky Kurgan”, the group was met by Alexander Arzumanyan, the permanent custodian of the monument for many years. The mound was built in the second half of the 4th century BC, it is the tomb of the representative of the Spartocids, the rulers of the Kingdom of the Bosporus.
Alexandra Alexandrovna tells the story of the building and its excavations in detail, focusing on its technical perfection. We learn how the ancient people worked with stone blocks, fastened them together, where they placed the scaffolding and how they put the heavy stones on each other. And, finally, how they were able to achieve that the structure survived intact and intact many cataclysms and wars, including the Great Patriotic War - heavy battles took place in the area.
According to Alexandra Arzumanyan, several groups of the Golden Ring of the Bosporian Kingdom have already taken part in the “Tsarsky Kurgan”. According to her, the project is developing and improving.
Heritage of Tauris and the suffering of Prometheus
The next destination was Theodosius (Feodosia). This is the only Bosporus city that has retained its name. The ancient name meaning “God-given” was returned to Theodosia by Catherine the Second after the city was called Kaffa and Kef for several centuries.
Antique buildings in Feodosia are not preserved. Historians explain this by the fact that, in contrast to the surviving Chersonesos and Panticapaeum, in Feodosia, residential quarters were located on the same territory since ancient times. At the same time, it is impossible to exclude Feodosia from the Bosporus route. At least due to the fact that the oldest museum of antiquities in Crimea is located there (it was opened in 1811), as well as the museum of underwater archeology.
Plate with a picture of a griffin. Photo credit: https: //feovybor.wordpress.com/
All periods of the history of Theodosius, when the city passed from hand to hand, are reflected in the museum of antiquities. Several rooms, in which objects of culture and life of the inhabitants of Theodosia are exhibited, are dedicated to the ancient history of the city. The most valuable exhibit is the large plate with the image of a griffin, one of the symbols of the Bosporan kingdom.
“The plate was found in the 19th century in Taman, but brought to Feodosia, because there was no museum closer,” the researcher at the Feodosia Museum of Antiquities Elena Galitskaya told Russkiy Mir. - The collection of the museum is constantly updated. In recent years, several thousands of finds have been received by archaeologists at the construction sites of the Tavrida highway. In Soviet times, residents of Feodosia actively carried the finds to the museum. Our city is historical, something interesting can be found even on your backyard. Nowadays people do not bring their findings that often. I think this is due, among other things, to the fact that various auctions have appeared on the Internet that allow to sell ancient objects. ”
The museum hopes that the Golden Ring of the Kingdom of the Bosporus and other large-scale educational projects will help to explain to the people that the finds of historical value belong to the city and country and should not leave their territory.
The tour route continued in Simferopol by visiting the museum-reserve Naples Scythian and an excursion to the historical and archaeological museum-reserve Chersonese Taurian. In the ancient theater preserved at the territory of Chersonesos, the participants of the route watched the tragedy by Aeschyl Chained Prometheus, staged by the Sevastopol Youth Theater.
According to the director of the play Olga Yasinskaya, she tried to get as close as possible to the ancient Greek theatrical manner, and while working on the production she used the works of famous experts on the revival of the ancient tragedy. Like the ancient Greek predecessors, Sevastopol actors turn their remarks and monologues not to the partners or the public, but to the god Dionysus.
Through the gates of Chersonesos, the participants of the tourist route returned to the modern world after a week of antiquity. But griffins, columns, pithoi, mounds and prometheuses will remain with them forever. And if something is forgotten, the gates of the Kingdom of Bosporia are always open without visas and customs.