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Technological model of Demeter crypt GBU RK "East-Crimean Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve"

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City of Crimea: Kerch
Adress: Republic of Crimea, Kerch, st. 51 Armii, 5
Coordinates: 45.351194,36.473306
Type of tourists point: Churches and cathedrals


In February 1895 during excavation works in one of the private property of Kerch city, was found a unique monument of the burial culture of the Bosporus, dating from I century AD - Crypt of Demeter. The name of the vault was gained thanks to the main plot of paintings - the image of the myth of the goddess Demeter. On the walls of the burial chamber are depicted the nymph Calypso god Hermes showing the scene of abduction of Kore (Persephone - daughter of the goddess) by Pluto. He takes her away by a chariot drawn by four horses. And with a center light of entered from the very entrance to any location in the crypt, is accompanied by incredible eyes of Demeter. She is shown on a green background, wearing a blue tunic, the neck is decorated with a gold necklace. Hair of Goddess is brown with dangling wavy curls combed parted in the middle and cascade down over her shoulders. Bust of Demeter is framed with a wreath intercepted by pink ribbon.

At the beginning of the XX century crypt of Demeter was acquired by the Archaeological Commission and was regarded as a branch of the Kerch Museum of Antiquities, and has been opened for visitors since 1908. According to M.I. Rostovtsev, the author of the tomb descriptions of the period, "the humidity remains constant, and the colors retain their freshness", but already in 1914 the appearance of moisture and peeling paint layer was seen in the crypt.

In 1927, guided by the performances of the participants of the archaeologists Union conference in 1926 on questions of the alarming state of the tomb paintings, it was decided to limit the access of visitors to the tomb. Carried out in 1938, the Commission has found an increase in paint layer landslides as compared to 1927. The main reasons for the ongoing destruction were called rising damp in the crypt, and the deposition of salts in the plaster and colorful layer. Kerch Museum offered to conduct constant monitoring of humidity in the tomb.

In the postwar years the restoration was carried out, and attempts were made to drain the crypt. In 1970 the construction of the residential neighborhood next to the crypt next sharply deteriorated condition of the monument. Groundwater started to penetrate the vault. Thanks to the efforts of the charity fund "Demetra" established in Kerch in the mid-1990s, a drainage and a number of other works, aimed at draining the crypt and rescue the surviving fragments of painting had been conducted. At the same time, it was decided to create a monument to the technological model, as it became clear that his place can no longer be seen by visitors.

The authors of the technological model were artists Tatiana and Nikolai Korolevs. They fully recreated interior appearance and decoration of tombs: walls and ceilings painted with frescoes, copying the original to the smallest details. Created in the basement of the XIX century, at the foot of the Grand Mitridatskaja staircase, the museum was one of the first private exposition of objects in Kerch. Now it, like its thousand-year original, became a department of the "East-Crimean Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve".

In a small but very informative museum, you can find a detailed history of the discovery and study of the original crypt, to get acquainted with the legend of the mighty King Mithridates - the most famous ruler of the kingdom of the Bosporus, see the installation of the funeral complex, enjoy samples of ancient pottery and terracotta figurines. And most importantly one can enjoy the frescoed burial chamber, illustrating the sad story of the abduction of Persephone, daughter of Demeter, by the god of the underworld Hades.

The technological model of Demeter crypt today is the only opportunity to see how the unique monument of ancient architecture looks like, look at the big sad eyes of Demeter, the patroness of our city, the mighty goddess - the guardian of the universe. The goddess Demeter was the patroness of Panticapaeum - agricultural capital of the Bosporus. Legend of the abduction of Kore, Demeter's daughter, was an attempt to explained the seasons by the ancient Greeks. While creating fresco in the technological model ancient painting technique has been fully maintained.



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