The history of Crimean winemaking goes back about two and a half thousand years ago.
It appears that Ancient Greeks brought grapevines to Crimea, and ever since than, they became a rightful resident of this peninsula. Many local grape varieties are descendants of wines that arrived from the shores of Hellas.
The era of wine prosperity continued up until the 10th and 11th centuries. In the late 18th century wine production was picked up by Genoese, establishing a very powerful colony in Crimea. Unfortunately for two hundred years, Turks were merciless towards wine and wine makers.
Only in 19th century, thanks to the efforts of Russian nobility, Crimean winemaking revived. It was than that European wines were imported, and modern wineries, such as, “Masandra” and ‘Noviy Svit” were established.
The tradition of desert and fortified wine production dominated the region at this time.
Crimean Karaites are one of the most interesting ethnic groups residing in Ukraine.
Their appearance in Eastern European territories (Crimea, Poland and Lithuania) has been a subject of debate since 19th century. Some argue about Karaites being Jewish (in both, religious and ethnic terms). Others claim Karaites being descendants from Khazars, Polovets, and other Turkish ethnicities.
According to one prominent theory, Crimean Karaites, together with Polovets and Kypchaks found themselves to be part of the Golden Horde, as they assimilated with local population. In the 13th century, Karaites came to Lithuania and Western Ukraine (Halychyna and Volyn).
Currently, Karaites are one of the smallest ethnic groups in the world. There are about 2,000 Karaites, of which about 1,200 live in Ukraine. More than 600 Karaites reside in Yevpatoria, Feodosia and Saki.
In the 16th and 18th centuries there was Karaite principality in medieval town of Chufut-Kale, situated in modern Bakhchysaray. In that region, ancient Karaite burial tradition still remains, right at the foot of the mountain, and it is considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Ukraine.
A Karaite Persian temple, Kenesa was built in 1902, at 7, Yaroslaviv Val Street in the city of Kyiv. This beautiful temple of Crimean Karaites can be found in Yevpatoria (1815).
Khersones is one of the most historical cities on the territory of modern Ukraine, and it is a part of Sevastopol today.
The city of Khersones was found in the south part of Crimean peninsula, back in the 422 B.C. It used to be part of Greek colony. At first, it was highly developed city-state, which even minted it’s own coins. But at the same time, Khersones was located on the crossroad of many trade routes. The history of this city is mainly remembered for its defense wars. The final tragic strike for Khersones, took place in 1399, when the Gold Horde’s commander, Edigu invaded Khersones and burnt it to the ground.
Today, the National Museum Reserve “Khersones Tavriyaskyi” is situated in the ancient city, where you can walk on the original blocks, which remained among ancient marble columns, and defense walls of the fortress. The Khersones complex also includes a National Museum and Basilica. The museum’s exposition contains rich artifacts obtained through archeological excavations on the territory of Khersones and it’s surroundings.
From the book «Awesome Ukraine». Publishing House Osnovy.
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