2015-08-03 10:00:00

Tauric Chersonesos Nature Preserve in Crimea to be transferred to federal authority, included in especially valuable cultural heritage list

Moscow, August 3, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to include the monuments and the area of the Tauric Chersonesos Nature Preserve in Crimea in the Unified State Register of the cultural heritage of the peoples of Russia, transfer it to federal authority and include it in the list of especially valuable objects of the cultural heritage of the peoples of Russia.

The appropriate documents will be submitted by the Sevastopol city governor to the Russian government before September 1, the Kremlin press service has reported.

The Tauric Chersonesos Nature Preserve has recently found itself in the center of media scrutiny after Sevastopol Governor Sergey Menyailo dismissed Andrey Kulagin from the post of the nature preserve's director and appointed Archpriest Sergy Khalyuta of the Simferopol Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church to this post.

This decision has provoked a negative response from a number of museums, including the staff of the nature preserve, because the priest is not a specialist in this area.

Menyailo said that Father Sergy's appointment had not been spontaneous, had been discussed for a long time, had been supported by the Russian Culture Ministry and had received the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

For his part, Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), secretary of the Patriarchal Council for Culture, argued that this appointment had not been coordinated with the patriarch.

The Culture Ministry told Interfax that such a decision had not been coordinated with the ministry either, because "the Culture Ministry is not entitled either to agree or block such appointments."

Head of the Sevastopol Legislature Alexey Chaly and director of the State Hermitage Museum Mikhail Piotrovsky were among those who opposed the priest's appointment to this job.

Menyailo, for his part, continues to insist that such a decision will help resolve previous disputes between the museum and the St. Vladimir Cathedral in Chersonesos, located on the premises of the nature preserve. In this sense, Chersonesos will remain a museum and archeological complex, he said.

The Tauric Chersonesos Nature Preserve is a major museum and a scientific research center in Crimea. It includes medieval fortresses, an ancient settlement and hectares of unique agricultural farmland. It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013.

Tauric Chersonesos was founded as a Greek polis in the 5th century BC on the Herakleian Peninsula on Crimea's south-west coast. Nowadays, the Chersonesos settlement is part of the Gagarinsky District of Sevastopol.

Over two millennia, Chersonesos had been a major political, economic and cultural center on the northern shores of the Black Sea, where it was the only Doric colony.

Chersonesos has been a site of archeological excavations since 1827. The museum funds of the Tauric Chersonesos Nature Preserve currently contain approximately 250,000 depository items.