Welcome to Rome Across Europe!
It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Last week we were in Greece to uncover the Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessalonika.
Tauric Chersonese and its chora are the remains of an ancient city, founded in the 5th Century BC as a colonial settlement of the Dorian Greeks, located on the Heraclean Peninsula in south-west Crimea. The polis and extended chora of Tauric Chersonese form an outstanding example of an ancient cultural landscape, consisting of a Greek polis and its agricultural hinterland established as part of colonist activities in the 4th and 3rd Century BC.
The significant archaeological ruins of the city retain physical remains constructed between the 5th Century BC and the 13th Century AD laid out on an orthogonal grid system. The basic orientation of this orthogonal grid continues into the wider landscape where fragments of a vast land demarcation system of 400 equal allotments in an area of 24,710 acres have been preserved.
The Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its chora is an exceptional example of a peripheral center of movement of people which acted as an important gateway to the north-eastern parts of the Greek trade influence, including the Crimea and the Scythian state. The city maintained its strategic role over almost 2 millennia and provides a unique example for the continuity and longevity of a mercantile outpost connecting the different Black Sea trade routes.
The site features several public building complexes and residential neighborhoods, as well as early Christian monuments alongside remains from Stone and Bronze Age settlements; Roman and Medieval tower fortifications and water supply systems; and exceptionally well-preserved examples of vineyard planting and dividing walls.
How This Relates to Rome:
Beginning in the 6th Century BC, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras, Olbia and Chersonesus, were founded on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea. These colonies thrived well into the 6th Century AD being known as the most productive wine center of the Black Sea and remained a hub of exchange between populations north of the Black Sea.
Chersonesus was subject to Rome from the middle of the 1st Century BC until the 370s AD, when it was captured by the Huns.
It became a Byzantine possession during the Early Middle Ages and withstood a siege by the Göktürks in 581. Byzantine rule was slight, and there was a small imperial garrison more for the town’s protection than for its control.
Its isolation made it a popular place of exile for those who angered the Roman and later Byzantine governments. Among its more famous “inmates” were Pope Clement I, Pope Martin I, and the deposed Byzantine Emperor Justinian II.
Thanks for taking the tour with us today. We hope you’re inspired to take further adventures within the Roman Empire.
Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!