He is laying, he is destroying … The present state of the Genoese fortress

The present state of the Genoese fortressThe complex of fortifications in Sudak, known today as the Genoese fortress, has repeatedly been destroyed, changed names, affiliations, restored, rising from the ruins.
As far as historians can argue, building walls here in Surozh (or Soldaya) began in the third century AD. Khazars, Goths, Byzantines, Venetians, Genoese, Ottomans…. The new invasion of the fortress took place in 2014 – and, as was most often in its history, the horde came again from the East.
Conquerors of the past did not celebrate the artistic or historical value of the fortress – for them it was a military construction, not a monument of Byzantine, Gothic or Italian history. The Ottomans rebuilt the Catholic temple at the Padishah Jami Mosque, and since 1771 the Russians have housed their own Cyril Regiment in the fortress and built barracks for it, and turned the mosque into an Orthodox church.

Since 2001, the Genoese Helmet Festival of Medieval Martial Arts has been taking place in the Genoese Fortress since 2001 in Sudak; members of historical reconstruction clubs gather for it, arrange demonstration battles, imitating those conquerors who once destroyed this fortress. Riders jump, ragged fighters smoke from small arms and artillery of ancient times, “fun” battles-bugurts command on team…
It’s not so apolitical, because war (even the battle of the reconstructionists) is always a continuation of politics. For the first post-occupation festival in 2014, the organizers of “avoidance” banned the arrival of four Ukrainian “knightly” clubs of reconstructors, who have successfully and without any “unsportsmanlike” conflicts here in the past. Political prejudices have not gone beyond this, far from the vanity of modernity, the event.
It is a very interesting event, and, of course, it is better to hold such a festival in a city truly involved in medieval Europe, rather than somewhere in a semi-Asian, with quite different traditions, the outback.
Everything is not as free as it seems at first glance. What contribution is made by the participants is left out of the box, and for the spectators the ticket to the festival costs 600 rubles (while visiting the Genoese fortress at other times is only 200 rubles). The organizers of the festival promote the exotic fortress walls, the romance of the sea and natural landscapes, the rich history of the ancient city, which all together creates the ideal conditions for the medieval festival. Of course, exoticism, romance, the riches of history are what made Crimea necessary, since Russia has nothing to boast about, except for the one built under the Italian Kremlin project.
It is a question and a necessary element of the program – firing artillery. Although it is underway, one should think, not really, but idleness, some risk of damage to the fortress remains.

Since 1958, the Genoa Fortress is a branch of the National Reserve Sofia Sophia. Back in 2007, Ukraine submitted this memo to a UNESCO World Heritage Site candidate (Sophia Cathedral itself in this register since 1990). Unfortunately, the application has been suspended due to circumstances far beyond culture. Separating from Sophia of Kiev, the Russian invaders created the so-called “State Budgetary Institution of the Republic of Crimea Sudan Fortress Museum-Reserve”. Even in the current circumstances, every year, the fortress museum is visited by two hundred thousand tourists. The ticket costs 150-200 rubles. It is a profitable enough business, not surprisingly, the “museum” dealers who seized control of this object, seek to create even more comfortable conditions for visitors. History can not be ignored – the territory has even begun to build hotel rooms and additional toilets. As a result, the irreparable happened: on the night of November 16-17, 2015, one of the towers of the fortress collapsed. It took a little more than a year for the occupiers and their local occupants to destroy the building that had stood for centuries. And the so-called management of the newly created Museum of the State Library of Kazakhstan “Sudak Fortress”, instead of properly restoring the monument, decided to “repair the irreparable” as soon as possible, ie it showed criminal negligence. Successfully carried out “restoration” – were hired builders with no experience in the restoration of historical sites, especially since ancient ones, just made a concrete foundation and made of authentic stones essentially a copy of that tower, using modern cement mortar.
Nelya Kukovalska, director general of the Sophia Kyivska Museum Reserve, says: “They did the same thing with the walls next to them. And these are horrible things that are unacceptable in restoration. They are barbaric interference with the body of the memorial. This situation demonstrates the inability of the so-called management of the Sudak Fortress Museum and the occupying authorities of Crimea to prioritize their work and demonstrates criminal negligence in the field of cultural heritage protection.
The fact that the collapse of the tower in the Genoese fortress is a crime, of course, but the principle of “shito-covered” in Russia, which now hosts in the Crimea, has not been abolished. And impunity allowed us to continue construction work, and immediately in the next 2016 to start digging a pit for construction directly under the walls of the fortress. The soil was taken out by trucks, although under such conditions a shaky equilibrium could lead to the complete destruction of the priceless monument any day.
Moreover, two tongues of landslides hung over the fortress, which could destroy part of the wall at any time. Nelya Kukovalska says that she is watching what happens to Sudak’s “business card”, though she does not have direct access to the facility, which is still subject to the institution she runs. According to Ms. Kukovalska: “After the annexation of the peninsula, illegal and unprofessional works are carried out on the site, no one is engaged in the development of the landslide situation. The fact is that we are seeing an increase in seismic activity there, and there is a threat that these two displacement languages ​​will move towards the western wall of the fortress. ”
Unfortunately, as long as the occupation continues, there are no levers of influence on those who neglect and incompetence lead the building to destruction.
“We are concerned about the fate of the Genoa Fortress, as the specialists of the National Reserve Sofia Sophia have devoted much of their time and efforts to it. From 2006-2008, the activation of landslides has been noticed, that is, seismic activity has increased, – Nelya Kukovalska says. – To work ahead, set up a monitoring system and put up markers. In 2012, during the annual inspection of the technical condition of the monuments, the appearance of a vertical longitudinal crack with the disclosure of the body of the masonry was recorded, and a corresponding act was drawn up. And already when Crimea became annexed, one of the towers is known to have collapsed. ”

Since last year, the restoration of this unique monument of medieval fortification was entrusted to the notorious Meander Company from St. Petersburg, which simultaneously works on a dozen architectural monuments of the peninsula: Bakhchisarai Palace, Mithridad stairs in Kerch, Vorontsov Palace, Vorontsylu Palace, Surb Khach Monastery in Old Crimea, Pallas Manor in Simferopol, Chekhov House in Yalta, Swallow’s Nest, etc.
“Ukraine continues to promote Sudak Fortress as a cultural heritage monument on UNESCO’s lists, but without admission to the temporarily occupied territory of international experts and ensuring their security, the completion of the project becomes problematic,” said Nelya Kukovalska.
In exchange for recognizing the result of the aggression, Russia will, of course, be prepared to allow UNESCO experts to provide them not only with security but also with the most comfortable conditions, but if the annexation is not recognized, then anything can be done.
What, of course, is the bad thing, a bad mention, left after they leave?
Only scenery and ruins, ruins and scenery remain. Such European ancient structures are a rarity in Russia; in the territory of Russia, there are none at all – only on the western and south-western suburbs joined by force. It is no wonder, then, that the Genoese fortress is making films. Unfortunately, not always filmmakers “clean” for themselves. The images obtained in August of this year show the scenery built for the filming of a Russian film, which has been here since clearly not the first year. How much longer do they cost? And if the gray board shed only annoys its neat appearance against the backdrop of a fabulous landscape, then the additional arch very much spoils the whole panorama.
The invader always sees in the occupied territory alien and hostile, not his own. He is proud to have annexed this land and all that to it, as if it were a battle trophy, like deer antlers on the wall in a hunter. Therefore, the history of the conquered territory begins with the moment of conquest, the previous population remains strangers, their history and culture – foreign and hostile, everything that came before the conquest, is of great value, and therefore, one should not expect to improve the attitude to the historical memory. rattles.
And not saving the millions of rubles released from the sovereign’s treasury for restoration and restoration-reconstruction does not save the search for the guilty in the worst-case scenario (and the Kremlin has always been unsurpassed in finding the guilty). Moreover, it will not save the monument of restoring it from improvised materials using modern cement – it will already be an attraction instead of history and reconstruction instead of the spirit of chivalry.

Valery Verkhovsky

The material was prepared with the assistance of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation

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