- Ця сторінка також доступна на
We trampled the Muslim paradise,
reduced the forests, opened the ruins,
plundered and ruined the land.
Orphans gape sakli;
Gardens have been uprooted on the slopes.
The people are gone. The sources have dried up.
There are no fish in the sea. There is no water in the fountains.
This excerpt from Maximilian Voloshin’s poem “The Poet’s House” has been quoted quite often lately. Usually in the context of the annexation of 1783 and its aftermath. However, Voloshin not only stated the destructive actions of the Russian Empire: in modern times, the poet’s words sound like a prophecy. Although there is nothing strange here – only the name of the state has changed, and the policy has remained the same.
Although in some respects Maximilian Voloshin’s predictions still came true. In the last line, the poet depicts a peculiar picture of the apocalypse: the sea without fish and fountains without water – this is what the people of Crimea faced in its individual regions. For example, as a result of the active construction of the Crimean Bridge in Kerch, mass migrations of fish are observed. But this is at best. At worst, local fishermen find dolphin carcasses on the shores of the Kerch Strait.
As for the fountains, this is a separate story that concerns not only water as such, but also cultural heritage.
Abandoned water cult
When I think of the Crimea, and especially of its steppe zone, my mouth dries up: already in July there is no need to look for lush green grass. The scorching sun haunts you everywhere, you have nowhere to hide. But this was not always the case.
E. Markov, author of “Essays on the Crimea”, first published in 1882, notes that by 1783 the Crimean peninsula was densely populated, there were gardens, vineyards, pastures and a large number of fountains – for people and livestock.
Fountains were of great importance for the culture of the peoples of Crimea, and especially the Crimean Tatars. Let’s remember, first of all, the “Fountain of Tears” in the Bakhchisaray Palace. However, for now I mean fountains of household importance for mass use.
For the Crimean climate, water is not poetry, but a vital necessity. That is why the Crimean Tatars created a real cult of water.
And here is a description of the Crimea in the second half of the nineteenth century. we find in the “Essays”: “The real economic situation of Crimea has become well known even to people who have not been to it. The steppes, which make up 9/10 of the entire area of the peninsula, are perfect deserts, the grass in them is small, degenerated, and in June, until late autumn, burns out yellow. There is almost no water. Settlements are so rare that from one to another you go to the post office for a few good hours. What are – not settlements, but ruins. Of the ten huts, two are inhabited; for one survivor – ten lie in piles of garbage. Of the ten fountains, eight are probably broken or dry. Where in the memory of the ancients there were still forest places – now naked. You drive on a beam, along a stream – around you pears, garden medlars, poplars, cherries – and no trace of settlement. And this is the remnants of gardens. On some small rivers there are on whole versts continuous wild gardens with chairs».
This situation of Crimea is connected with the policy of the empire, which distributed the lands of the local population to new “owners”, who, in turn, did nothing to preserve the peninsula at least in the state in which it was. Not to mention multiplication.
For some reason, spring water on the peninsula is associated only with mountains. Ironically, fountains were also built in the mountains and forests. However, there were also fountains in the steppes. For example, on the Kerch Peninsula.
There were several fountains in Kerch, one of which – the largest – reached 40 meters in length. Outside the city it is also known about the existence of fountains in Yenikale, Bulganats, Michurin, in Kapkany, Marfivka, Fontana, on Cape Opuk. All of them gradually ceased to function and were dismantled (the last one was in the middle of the 20th century).
To this day, only one fountain has survived in the village of Glazivka, or as it was called before 1945 and is still called, Bucks.
The village of Baksi (from the Crimean Tatar “source”) is first mentioned in the ” Description of the cities that retreated peacefully in 1774 with the Ottoman Porte treaty into Russian possession and land belonging to them, with some geographical information of Lieutenant Colonel Tomilov ” as a place where the Circassians Tatars lived, with fifteen courtyards and four wells.
It is here that the last fountain on the Kerch Peninsula is located, which is considered a monument of medieval Crimean Tatar architecture, dating it no later than the XVIII century.
These are photos from the local news portal. Kerch historians are already sounding the alarm, emphasizing the importance of restoring the fountain. Unfortunately, most likely, this last source will remain a memory in the photos. As well as many historical and cultural sites of the peninsula, because currently the local authorities can not solve such domestic issues as the banal lack of water: in February 2019, a water tower fell in the village, and locals were left without the necessities. And this despite the fact that Glazivka is known to the inhabitants of the Kerch Peninsula as a place where in 1994 they began to bottle mineral water from the source “Bucks”. And the whole Kerch Peninsula is the most promising in terms of mineral water reserves in the Crimea. However, this is the irony of this world: “there are no fish in the sea, there is no water in the fountains …”
Ivan KLEPYK, journalist of the newspaper “Crimean Room”