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Crimea Tours

Armenian Church

Armenian ChurchArmenian Church of St. Ripsime in Yalta was constructed 1909-1914. It resembles a medieval temple (7th-12th centuries) in Echmiadzin - the first early medieval capital of Armenia.

The  Armenians are one of the Crimea's oldest nationalities. The first links of the Armenians with Taurida date back to the reign of the Bosporan tsar Mithridates VI Eupator, that is, to the 1st century BC.
In the 8th century, Armenian prince Vardan, who settied down in Chersonesus, headed a rebellion against Byzantine emperor Justinian II, and as a result,
Vardan himself occupied the emperor's throne. Later, one of the Armenian noblemen, Kalokir by name, who also lived in the Crimea, tried, in modern parlance, to establish a dialogue between Byzantine and Kievan Rus.
But it was the 11th and the 12th-14th centuries that saw the most dramatic growth of the Armenian Diaspora in the peninsula. At that time Armenia suffered from the devastating forays of Turks-Seljuks and later of the Tatar hordes.  In 1064, the Turks destroyed the town of Ani, the then-capital of the Armenian state of the Bagratids dynasty, and refugees flooded into the Crimea.

In the early 14th century, a big Armenian colony left Sarai, the Golden Horde`s capital, trying to escape percecution of the Tatars who had become Muslims by that time. By an arrangement with the Genoese Counsul, the Armenians started settling in the south-eastern coast of the peninsula. The majority of population of Kafa (Feodosia), Surkhat (Stary Krym), Sugdeya (Sudak) and adjoining areas was composed of Armenians in those times. Historians` estimates of their number differ - some estimate it in 150,000, others - at 300,000. In the official documents of the Genoese Republic this part of the peninsula was called Maritime or Greater Armenia.

In 1475, the Tatar-Turkish troops seized Kafa. In the course of hostilities, the Armenian town of Kasara, located on a bit higher place than the monastery Surb-Hach (St. Cross), was fully demolished. The conquerors did not spare the monastery itself either. Some of the Christian of the south-eastern Crimea were slaughtered, others fled the peninsula. Those who remained, on the khan`s order, were driven to the steppe areas and their lands were occupied by the Tatars.

Armenian Church StepsSergey Tsarapora private guide