Amazing Stories of CrimeaExhibitions

Amazing Stories of Crimea

Amazing Stories of Crimea
Мистецький Арсенал
вул. Лаврська, 10-12
Київ, Київська область 01010

The glimmering sea, the rustling cypress trees, the waves crashing beneath the steep cliffs, the faint smell of lavender, the endless steppe with wormwood and burial mounds, and the light ochre-colored earth. This is the beautiful, but sometimes harsh, Crimea we see in pictures, drawings and photographs. And it seems that in the Ukrainian public consciousness Crimea is more a space, a landscape, than the home of countless cultures – some well-studied, others mysterious.

That is why we want to tell you about Crimea and its people.

Who lived here and how? Who left these incredible burial mounds? These castles, minarets and columns? These ships and golden neck ornaments? What was life like here in ancient times and just a few hundred years ago? How best to imagine and understand the depth of Crimea’s fascinating history?

This exhibition was created to take you through the history of the ancient peoples who inhabited this land: the Cimmerians, the Tauri, the Scythians, the Greeks, and later the Goths, the Sarmatians, the Byzantines, the Khazars, the Cumans (Polovtsi), the Genoese and the Venetians, the Ottoman Turks, the Crimean Tatars. Crimea was their home, but they never lived cut off from the rest of the world. These branch cultures of the great steppe civilizations interacted actively with the mainland, and that is why we find related archeological sites throughout the Ukrainian east all the way to Kharkiv, and their influence was felt far to the west, to Halychyna and Poland. During the Great Migration of Peoples, groups of nomadic peoples built settlements and remained here on the peninsula. Crimea also belonged to the Mediterranean civilization, connected to Greece, Italy and Byzantium through the Black Sea.  

All these cultures became the source of the ethnogenesis – the formation of the peoples of the peninsula, who mixed for centuries with neighbors to the north and south, and each other. Crimea was on the boundary of different worlds – Scythian and Ancient, for example – who fought and traded with, borrowed from and created for each other. An interesting example of this are the many Scythian gold ornaments probably made by Greek craftsmen of the Black Sea coast. Or the Tauri, ancient inhabitants of the Crimean Mountains, who are described by ancient writers and whose close interaction with the Scythians gave rise to a new name of the region – Tauroscythia. But the influence of later peoples could still be felt in the Crimean steppes up until recently.  For instance, the way of life of the Khazars, nomadic Turkic tribes who came here via the Eurasian steppe, was preserved until the 20th century.

This all became the great Crimean melting pot in which modern peoples were born, in particular the Crimean Tatars – the indigenous ethnos of Crimea. We’ll tell you stories about the qırımlı, their traditions, faith, education and ceremonies. How much do you know about the famous coffee culture of the Crimeans? This is a chance to delve deeper into its secrets.

We’ll show you Crimea by creating a colorful stratified cut of soil, its cultural layers formed in different times. Together we are starting on an imaginary countdown, cutting deep through the cultural layers back to before humans existed.

Crimea was not isolated and closed off – it was a lively intersection of cultures. This peninsula grew and thrived through contact with other lands, but even when these ties were weak, the interaction of the people of Crimea and the experience of ancient metropolises always gave birth to something special. That today is the uniqueness of Crimea. That is what will determine its future, despite the challenges that it faces and must overcome today: as has happened repeatedly throughout its amazing history.   


  • Group of authors:

    Alim Aliev
    Yuliya Vaganova
    Viktoriya Velichko
    Oleksa Haiworonski
    Olga Melnyk
    Anna Oryshchenko
    Olesia Ostrovska-Liuta
    Anna Pohribna

    Art director
    Lera Guevska

    Exhibition architecture  
    Oleksandr Burlaka

    Technical director
    Serhiy Diptan

  • Organizers:

    Mystetskyi Arsenal
    Crimean House
    Supported by Ministry of Culture of Ukraine and Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine

  • Project partners:

    Archaeological Museum of National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv
    Zabolotny State Scientific Library of Architecture and Construction
    Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
    Borys Voznytskyi National Art Gallery of Lviv
    Lviv Historical Museum
    Lviv Museum of the History of Religion
    Museum of Archaeology at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University
    Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine
    National Preserve Davniy Halych
    Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum in Lviv
    National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art
    National Museum Kyiv Art Gallery
    National Museum of Natural History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
    Kharkiv Art Museum
    Pshenychnyi Central State CinePhotoPhono Archives of Ukraine
    Private collections
    Borys Makov
    Andriy Senchenko
    Rustem Skybin
    Stedley Art Foundation