Tauric Chersonese


The Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora covers an archaeological site and agricultural landscape of Greek origin.

It is located on a peninsula in Crimea, at the shores of the northern Black Sea. It was colonized by the Greeks in the 5th century BC and used as a trading port. Wine, produced locally, was one of the main export products.

After the Greeks were defeated, the city fell into the realm of Rome and later Byzantium. It was abandoned in the 15th century.

The designated zone consists of 7 locations: the ancient city with its original grid layout and 6 surrounding areas with plots of agricultural land.


Community Reviews

Juha Sjoeblom - October 2016

Site visited June 2013. I visited this site when Crimea was still under Ukrainian rule. It has been inscribed just a few days earlier.

Chersonese or Chersonesus is an ancient Greek colony located in the southwestern Crimea near the port city of Sevastopol. The World Heritage Site includes the complete ancient polis and seven fragments of its chora. The main archaeological area is quite large (30 hectares) and it is located on the shore of the Black Sea. Excavations include structures from Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine era.

Chersonese is a popular day trip destination from Sevastopol. It is easy to reach by taxi which takes 20 minutes from the center. On the cliffs just beside the area there were lots of people swimming and sunbathing. Therefore a big part of the crowds at the site are not that interested in antiquity itself.

On the main gate there is a small entrance fee. Directly after the entrance on the left side is a small Greek theater behind of which there is a large cistern. On the southeastern corner of the area near the entrance there are remains of huge defensive walls which are quite impressive. On the place of the ancient central square there is nowadays Saint Vladimir Cathedral which was originally built in the mid 19th century and destroyed during the World War II. The cathedral was reconstructed in the 1990s. Saint Vladimir Cathedral with its golden dome is the centrepiece of the site and it could be seen everywhere in the area. Going downhill after the cathedral there is a main street along which the best archaeological structures are located. Maybe the most famous single excavated building is the so called ’1935 Basilica’ which is beautiful with the Black Sea on the background. It has one standing wall with two door openings and several marble columns. On the site there are also numerous other churches, basilicas and residential blocks.

Within the archaeological area is also so called Bell of Chersonese which is a Russian Navy memorabilia and also one of the symbols of Sevastopol. The bell seemed to be the favourite of the local tourists.

This WHS includes also seven small sites outside the main archaeological area. These are the fragments of chora which are basically remains of the land plots of the citizens of Chersonese. I didn’t visit those sites but looking closer the places on the map, there isn’t a lot to see. Maybe those are of significance only to the committed archaeologists.

I spent three hours at the site. There is really quite a lot of things to see. It was a pleasure to explore the vast archaeological area while enjoying the warm summer winds of the Black Sea. I found the cathedral and the excavations with numerous columns very photogenic. Watching the crowds of relaxed people strolling amid the ancient monuments there was same kind of a holiday feeling than in the similar archaeological sites in Greece.

Having visited several Greek and Roman archaeological sites, I found this site well worth of inscription. What makes it unique is its location in the Crimean peninsula and the testimony of the exchange of influences between different regions and cultures. It is interesting what the future of this site will be in the current political situation.

Martina Ruckova - November 2015

Visited in October 2014. This WHS is located on the Crimean peninsula. Today due to geopolitics the easiest way to visit is through Moscow and via some of the connecting flights, should you find yourself in Russia and don't want to bother with multiple-entry visa. Flights from Moscow land either in Simferopol or Sevastopol, the WHS itself is located on the outskirts of Sevastopol. We chose a taxi from our hotel in Sevastopol to get there and returned by walking and then taking a bus. As for other technicalities, you need Russian visa to enter Crimea and the accepted currency everywhere around is Russian Ruble.

The site itself is spacious - the ancient city was located on a small peninsula between two bays. You enter it through the main gate, pay small entrance fee (120 rubles per person) and you can walk freely around the extensive site. The parts of it are not signposted, and if any sign or information is present, it's in Russian. There's an English and German speaking guide available, I would recommend booking a tour beforehand. It's hot there in summer but can be quite cold and windy in October, so dress accordingly.

I know some travellers are a bit wary about visiting the Crimean Peninsula, so let me assure you it's safe.

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Site Info

Full name: Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora

Site History


The site has 8 locations.

  • Ancient city of Tauric Chersonese
  • Chora plot in Berman's Gully
  • Chora plot in the Streletskaya Gully
  • Chora plot in the Yukharina Gully
  • Chora plot on the Bezymyannaya Height
  • Chora plot on the isthmus of the Mayachny Peninsula
  • Chora plot on the isthmus of the Mayachny Peninsula
  • Chora plot on the isthmus of the Mayachny Peninsula


The site has 25 connections.




  • Black Sea 
  • Peninsula "Chersonose" is Greek for "Peninsula" - the site was named after the Crimean Peninsula


Human Activity

Religion and Belief

  • Cathedrals The Saint Vladimir Cathedral is a Neo-Byzantine Russian Orthodox cathedral on the site of Chersonesos Taurica (wiki)
  • Introduction of Christianity 988AD - baptism of Volodymyr, Prince of the Kyivan Rus as a result of which "Christianity entered the Slavic world". ".. to marry the 27-year-old princess to a pagan Slav seemed impossible. Vladimir was baptized at Chersonesos, however, taking the Christian name of Basil out of compliment to his imperial brother-in-law; the sacrament was followed by his wedding to Anna. Returning to Kiev in triumph, he destroyed pagan monuments and established many churches" (Wiki)
  • Jewish religion and culture The basilica was probably built in the 6th century on the site of an earlier temple, assumed by historians to be a synagogue, itself replacing a small temple dating from the early days of Christianity (wiki)
  • Russian Orthodox churches outside Russia Saint Vladimir Cathedral


  • Built in the 5th century BC Chersonese city was founded in the 5th century BCE as a colonial settlement of the Dorian Greeks (Unesco), see also full site name


World Heritage Process

  • Part of Cultural nomination rejected inscribed "with the exception of serial component no. 7 Cape Vinogradny"
  • Relict Cultural Landscapes ICOMOS considers that Tauric Chersonese and its chora represents a relict agricultural landscape with a vast and at locations well-preserved land allotment system, which remains legible despite later changes in land use. (AB ev)