There are many temples and monasteries in Crimea, which are visited by tourists and pilgrims. Many of them are located in very beautiful places. In this review on the online guide Geomerid you can read about the most famous churches, cathedrals and monasteries of the Crimea:
1. St. Vladimir Cathedral in Kherson
2. Church of John the Baptist in Kerch
3. Assumption Monastery in Bakhchisarai
4. Foros Church
5. Church of St.Nicholas in Malorechenskoye
6. Church of the Iver Icon of the Virgin Mary
7. St. Nicholas Cathedral in Yevpatoria
8. St. George's Monastery in Balaklava
9. Mangup Monastery
10. Church of St. John the Theologian in Feodosia
Vladimir Cathedral in Chersonesos is the largest church in the Crimea. It has great religious and cultural significance, as it was built on the site of the baptism of Prince Vladimir the Red Sun in 988. After that, he baptized the inhabitants of Kiev in the waters of the Dnieper. The Baptism of Russia is an epochal event that forever defined the history of the country.
For the first time, the proposal to build a cathedral on the site of the baptism of Prince Vladimir in Korsun was made by the commander of the Black Sea Navy, Admiral Greig, in 1825. In the same year, archaeological excavations began on the site of the ancient Greek Chersonesos, which during the Byzantine era was the center of Christianity in the Crimea.
During the Crimean War of 1853-56, the Vladimir Cathedral in Chersonesos was destroyed. The new Vladimir Cathedral in Chersonesos was built by architect David Grimm in the neo-Byzantine style. The height of the huge temple reaches 36 meters.
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The Church of John the Baptist in Kerch was built in the 10th century by Byzantine builders, with the foundation and part of the walls preserved from the 6th century Christian church. In Kiev and Novgorod, as well as other cities of Kievan Rus, churches of the 11th century have been preserved to this day. Thus, the Church of John the Baptist in Kerch can be called the oldest Christian church in Russia.
The foundation, fragments of the external altar walls and columns have been preserved from this ancient church. They can now be seen in the Church of John the Baptist. In the 10th century, the church was partially destroyed during the storming of the city by the squad of Prince Mstislav Vladimirovich, but it immediately began to be restored. During the reconstruction of the 10th century, Byzantine builders recreated exactly the architecture and interior of the ancient church of the 6th century. They also preserved the special brick masonry from the plinth, which was used by the masters of the 6th century.
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The Assumption Monastery in Bakhchisarai is 2.5 kilometers from the Khan`s Palace. It is located in the picturesque Gorge of the Virgin Mary (Maryam-Dere) and is the oldest Orthodox monastery in the Crimea. The churches of the monastery were cut down in caves and natural grottoes of the mountain gorge. In this, the monastery is similar to other cave settlements of the Crimea. The Assumption Monastery is as famous a landmark of Bakhchisarai as the Khan`s Palace.
Exact data on the time of construction of the Assumption Monastery has not been preserved, but most likely it appeared no later than the 7th century. The foundation of an Orthodox monastery at this time seems quite logical, because many Byzantine cave settlements appeared in these places. The Assumption Monastery was built in the caves of the Gorge of the Virgin Mary, because here, according to legend, an Icon of the Our Lady appeared to a local shepherd. The Assumption Monastery is often called the Crimean Athos or the Crimean Lavra.
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Foros Church is one of the most famous churches in the Crimea, as it is located in a very picturesque place, on the edge of a rocky cliff. Foros Church was built in 1892 and consecrated in honor of the Resurrection of Christ. A very beautiful view of the church opens from the Baydar pass.
Foros Church is built on the edge of the Red Rock. The height of this rock reaches 412 meters. Near the church there is a road that leads from Yalta to the Baydar Valley and further to Bakhchisaray and Sevastopol. Two mountains rise above the Foros Church: Chelebi (657 m) and Chhu-Bair (705 m), the Baydar Pass passes between them. The construction of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ cost him 50 thousand gold rubles. In 1892, the church was consecrated in the presence of the royal family. Kuznetsov attracted famous architects and decorators to the construction of the church. The Church of the Resurrection of Christ was built in the Byzantine style of Inkerman stone.
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The orthodox Church of St. Nicholas of Myra in the village of Malorechenskoye is a very interesting attraction of the Crimea. It is built on the high shore of the Black Sea, and its own height reaches 65 meters. There is a lighthouse inside the small dome of the church, and at the foot you can visit the Museum of Shipwrecks. The village of Malorechenskoye, where the Church of St. Nicholas of Myra was built, is located 25 kilometers from Alushta.
The lighthouse-church of St. Nicholas of Myra in Malorechenskoye was consecrated in 2007. On the four walls of the church you can see huge frescoes depicting saints. The size of each fresco is 15 meters. The architecture of the St. Nicholas of Myra is quite unusual for Orthodox churches, although in general, it repeats the composition of Russian tower churches.
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The Church of the Icon of Our Lady of Iveron is the oldest church in Feodosia. It was built in 1348 near the wall of the Genoese fortress of Kafa in the Armenian quarter of the city. In total, there were five churches in this quarter, four of which have survived to this day. The population of Kafa during the time of Genoese rule consisted of 2/3 ethnic Armenians. After the construction of the outer walls of the Genoese fortress of Kafa, some Armenians founded their own commune and settled near the eastern wall.
In 1875, the Armenian Church of St. John the Baptist became an Orthodox church, which was consecrated in honor of the Icon of Our Lady Iveron. According to ancient chronicles, the frescoes in the Church of the Icon of Our Lady Iveron were painted in the 15th century by the famous Russian painter Feofan the Greek. In Soviet times, the church was closed and used as a warehouse, so the ancient frescoes have not been preserved.
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The Cathedral of St. Nicholas was erected in 1893 in the Old Town of Yevpatoria near the Juma-Jami Mosque. The domes of the mosque and the Orthodox cathedral rise above the seaport of Yevpatoria and symbolize the multiculturalism of the city, which is called Little Jerusalem. Yevpatoria was called the Little Jerusalem, because there are temples of many religions in close proximity to each other. In 1893, by order of Emperor Alexander III, the construction of a large cathedral began.
The Juma Jami Mosque, which is located next to the cathedral, was built by the Ottoman architect Sinan in 1552. It repeats the architectural traditions of the Byzantine Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The Cathedral of St. Nicholas was also decided to be built in the same architectural style. It has a large dome with a diameter of 18 meters. Half-domes cascade down from it on the sides.
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St.George Monastery is one of the most ancient and revered in the Crimea. According to legend, it was founded in 891 by Byzantine fishermen who were shipwrecked near Cape Fiolent. The monastery is located in a very picturesque place on the high shore above the Jasper beach.
The ship of the Byzantine fishermen crashed on the coastal rocks, but the sailors began to pray to St. George the Victorious. On a rock near the shore, Saint George appeared to them, with his hands raised to sky. After that, the storm immediately subsided. The surviving sailors then climbed the rock and found an icon of St. George on it. After that, they founded the St. George Monastery on the shore near the rock. On top of the rock, they installed a Cross of Worship, and the rock itself was called the Rock of the Holy Apparition. St. George`s Monastery is located on the southernmost outskirts of Sevastopol. The resort village of Balaklava is 10 kilometers away, so the monastery is often called the Balaklava St. George Monastery.
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The male Annunciation Monastery is located on the southern slope of Baba-Dag Mountain, where the cave settlement of Mangup-Kale was located in the Middle Ages. Sometimes the monastery is called the Southern Monastery, as it is built on the southern slope of the mountain. The churches are located in a natural grotto of a steep slope, and some of the monastic cells are hollowed out in caves.
The cave settlement of Mangup-Kale is located on the mountain plateau of Baba-Dag Mountain, 20 kilometers south of Bakhchisarai. To this day, about 20 caves have been preserved in the Mangup Annunciation Monastery, as well as several large natural grottoes. The churches, monks` cells and a small necropolis are located there. Several monks now live in the monastery. From the southern slope there is a very beautiful view of the surrounding valleys.
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The Church of St. John the Theologian is located near the Genoese fortress of Kafa. This small church was built in the style of a Roman basilica in the 14th century. It looks very ascetic, there is almost no decoration on the outer walls and inside the church, however, its location next to other ancient churches allows to feel the appearance of a medieval Kafa (modern Feodosia).
In front of the Church of St. John the Theologian there is a small courtyard surrounded by a high stone fence. A small stone bridge, also built in the Byzantine era, has been preserved nearby. The walls of the church and the fence are made of gray rubble stone. Nowadays, the Church of St. John the Theologian in Feodosia is closed to the public.
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