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Russian occupation authorities destroy UNESCO World Heritage site, build outdoor theater in its place

by Rachel Amran June 27, 2024 1:03 AM 2 min read
The new archaelogical park built by Russia on the remains of the UNESCO-listed city of Chersonesus in southwestern Crimea. (Evelina Kravchenko via Facebook)
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Russian occupation authorities destroyed the UNESCO-listed city of Chersonesus in southwestern Crimea and constructed an outdoor theater at the site of the excavations, a senior researcher at the Institute of Archeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine announced on June 26.

The city of Chersonesus was an ancient Greek colony founded over 2,500 years ago on the territory of Crimea. In 2013, UNESCO listed the "Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora" as a World Heritage Site. Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 brought the site under Russian occupation, but UNESCO continues to recognize it as part of Ukraine.

Evelina Kravchenko, a senior researcher at the Institute of Archeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, said Russian authorities have replaced the original sights with new buildings, destroying their authenticity.

Between 2015 and 2016, Russian developers reportedly fenced off archaeological remains at the site, including towers, walls, and columns with viewing platforms. An ancient open-air theater was later built on the site of the ancient citadel, putting about a ton of extra weight on the original structures.

Most of the archaeological artifacts, including frescoes, dishes, household items, and icons, were taken to Russia.

A new city has been built on the site of the archaeological remains. Several excavated objects were removed and rebuilt in different locations.

UNESCO announced earlier this month that 412 Ukrainian cultural heritage sites have been destroyed since the beginning of the full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022.

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