Chersonesus (Crimea)

The ancient city of Chersonese (in Greek Χερσόνησος peninsula, Kherson also, antique Chersonesos, Heraclea ) is located on the south bank of the largest of the 38 bays of Sevastopol ( Sewastopol'skaja buchta ) protected behind some hills, at the extreme southwestern tip of the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea in the today's Ukraine. Besides Chersonese today's city of Sevastopol was founded in 1783.


300,000 years ago, to have lived in caves and grottoes even in Chersonese early representatives of the people.

Greek city-state

422 BC created the first Greek colonies in the Crimea. They expelled the force as predatory Taurians and built forts with associated ports. They built proven in the Crimea for the first time on wine, cereals and fruit.

The Crimea was divided geographically: the Ionian colonists from Miletus founded Theodosia Pantikapaion, Mirmekion and Nimpheion on the Kerch peninsula in the east of the Crimea on the Azov Sea, while Doric settlers from Heraclea Pontica settled the southwest of the Crimea. Here Kerkintida emerged (today Evpatoria ), Kalamita (now Sevastopol ), Kalos Limen - (today Tschernomorsk ) and just Chersonese ( Chesona ), which was initially called Heraclea after the mother city.

In the 2nd century BC, when the Scythians attacked the Greeks, the Greek polis was not able to protect itself ( ancient Greek city-state ) Chersonese and had to ask for help the king of Pontus. Here, the cultural and economic center of the south-western Crimea lost its independence.

Roman outpost and Khazar Khanate

In the year 63 AD, the townsfolk of Chersonese Rome called for protection against the barbarians. Chersonese was incorporated into the Roman Empire, serving from now on as an outpost of the Roman conquest of politics on the northern shore of the Black Sea. The coins of the city of Chersonesos from the imperial period the inscription Kherson / e / soy eleytheras, even basileyo? S / e / s, and neither king nor emperor names or head.

The city remained as a Roman- Byzantine trade outpost until the late 7th century, the Empire and served this as a place of exile, among other things, for Pope Martin I, Emperor Justinian II was exiled there after his first fall 695.

During the Byzantine iconoclastic controversy in the 8th and 9th century Chersonese was under chasarischem influence and was for Byzantium commercial establishment rather than a military base. This has made it a refuge Byzantine images worshipers during the reign of Emperor enemy images.

The Byzantine Period

In return for the help with the construction of the Khazar fortress Sarkel at the Don Estuary Byzantium received 838 control of the city of Chersonesus back, which then preserved its Greek-Byzantine character to the destruction in 1400.

To the 985 occupied with Byzantium allied against Bulgaria Kievan Grand Prince Vladimir I. the city to force the goal by marrying Anne, the sister of the Byzantine emperor. Byzantium consented, but made ​​next to the return Chersonese and the baptism of Vladimir and the Christianization of Rus as a condition of marriage.

The Byzantine rule lasted then on until the 4th Crusade 1204, after the first Chersonese to the Byzantine Empire of Trebizond part and later in the early 13th century, then fell to the Republic of Genoa, until it was finally destroyed in 1400 by the White Horde and then was never rebuilt.

Russian Start-up

Founded in 1783 Catherine II in addition to the Chersonese city of Sevastopol; the ancient Chersonese was not overbuilt. Around 1820 began Russian archaeologists to excavate and put parts of the city freely. The Soviet Black Sea fleet was less considerate than Catherine II, it built right in the excavation field military buildings, but they are reduced again today.

Chersonese today

Today you can visit the archaeological and historical outdoor museum " Chersonese of Tauria ". During summer, in the exposed amphitheater, the annual theater festival the Games of Chersonese instead. Since Summer 2013 Chersonese entitled World Heritage Site.


In Crete there were two other ancient settlements of a similar name:

  • Chersonasos, all located on the western tip of Crete between Platanos and Stomio on the coast, and
  • Chersonasos ( Chersonaos ) on the northeast coast of Crete, north of the present Hersonissos, Heraklion between Malia and.