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Tanais

Cultural tourism in Russia > Rostov region > Tanais

Tanais

Within the precincts of a farmstead Nedvigovka there is an uncommonly multifarious and unique historical and archaeological ensemble.

The name of the farmstead is connected by local legends with the faraway epoch of the 17th century, with the name of Peter I. Here there were Cossack covering forces, protecting from the Turks the southern borders of the strategically important delta. The order given to these covering forces was precise: "Don't move!" (In Russian "don't move" sounds like "ne dvigatsa"). The other version connects the name of the farmstead with the first local settler - the Cossack, whose name was Nedviga.

In the western part of the farmstead the battle redoubts are well seen, and on the left bank of the Dead Donets River there were found the remains of the fortress Lyutik. An interesting architectural monument of the 19th century is the Church of Assumption.

In the course of many centuries Tanais has been a large economical, political and cultural centre of Podonje-Priazovje. The Greek geographer Strabon calls it the biggest market-place of the barbarians, inferior only to Panticapaeum (the capital of the Bospor realm situated on the territory of the today's Kerch). According to geographers and historians of ancient time, Tanais was situated on the border between two parts of the world.

Tanais was founded by the Greeks from the Kingdom of the Bosporus. The town has gradually acquired features characteristic of the local tribes' way of living. Tanais fought for the independence of the rulers of the Kingdom of the Bosporus. In the year 237 A.D. Tanais was destroyed by the Goths. Reconstructed in 140 years by the Sarmatians, Tanais has gradually become the centre of agricultural and artisan production. At the beginnig of the 5th century A.D. Tanais went to ruin. 

The data, got in the course of excavations lets us throw light upon the ethnic, political and economical history of Tanais, that appeared at the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. and existed right up to the 4th century A.D.

The main part of the reserve is represented by the districts of the ancient city, dicovered by the excavations. The building of the museum includes 5 halls, total area of which is 200.5 square kilometers. Expositions reflects the history of Tanais and the neighbouring settlements. 

The buildings in the town are mainly made of stone and have typically Greek elements of construction. Building up has been disorderly and cramped. There were found lots of ceramic amphorae. 

Main relations of Tanais before the first centuries A.D. are traced with the cities and countries of the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor, with the islands of the Aegean Sea, Khersones and Bosporus. The trade in the period from the 3rd to the 1st centuries B.C. was held on the basis of non-monetary interchange of goods. Most of money found in the strata of the town date from the 1st century A.D. At that time the red-lacquered crockery and the glassware of Roman production gain ground. Wine, oil, crockery, handicraft wares and jewelry were imported into Tanais; products of agriculture and cattle-breeding exported from it. It is very likely that the slaves were exported as well. The inhabitants except trading also took up fishery and hunting. Population of the town wasn't homogeneous. These were mainly Greeks - colonists and representatives of local aborigines.

Thanks to remoteness from the main centres of the Kingdom of the Bosporus Tanais was relatively independent. The Bosporus tried to subject Tanais to its influence. The kings of the Bosporus appointed their deputy Prevsbet in Tanais.

Buildings of Tanais from the 3rd to the 1st centuries B.C. are represented in the brightest way in its western district. Narrow, meandering lanes and passages; little-space houses with wattle and daub floors and roofs made of reed; the absence of the beforehand planned lay-out - such is the Early Tanais.

All these things evidently show the influence of local tribes' traditions. 
Defensive wall without any towers surrounded this part of the town. The main part of the site of ancient settlement, dated the 1st to the 3rd centuries A.D., has the form of a regular quadrangle, which sides are 225-240 meters long.

Some narrow streets were situated in parallel with the defensive walls and the others were set at right angle to them. The stone houses had tiled roofs. The central place in the farmstead was occupied by the paved yard with a catchment well. Around it there were dwellings and household buildings. In the central part of the town there was the town square called agora.

 
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