In the history of the Russian navy a special recognition has been accorded
to the small two-masted brig "Mercury."This ship was intended as a
reconoitering, messenger and cruiser service, armed with seventeen cannons. On
May 14, 1829 it engaged in unequal combat Turkish line combatants facing a
total of 184 canons of various calibre. Even though they were outgunned 10 to
1, the Russian sailors came out victors in this engagement.
On the bridge, Commander Alexander Ivanovich Kazarskyi faced a thorny
situation. After completing navigation school in Nikolayev, he began service on
the merchant ship "Sopernik," an ocean going vessel. The officer
observed with envy how his comrades were beating the enemy on warships, and all
he was obliged to do was to furnish them some supplies, and effect repairs.
Soon the "sopernik" was converted into an armed vessel, on which in
spite of the age of the ship, was kept in an orderly manner..
The ship's baptism under fire came as the fortress of Anapa was taken, for
which he was quickly brought up for promotion to the rank of
captain-lieutenant. He served with distinction during the siege of the fortress
Varna. He was recognized for bravery and valor and awarded "Golden
Canons." However his ambition and fearlessness was to be felt in his
abilities to lead men. Kazarskyi took command to the warship --the brig
"Mercury." In his first sortie in search of the enemy, the young
officer and his men, could not know that they would record a new and wonderfull
page in the chronicles of the Russian navy. Many of the details of the harowing
adventures of the ship's complement, were reported by the Saint Petersburg
journalist, Yu. Stvolinskyi.
Raising up anchor, the frigate "Shtandart" and two brigs
"Orphei" and "Mercury' emerged from the harbor and set sail to
the south. The crossing to the Bosphor was uneventfull. The sun shown brightly,
and the wind blew a monotonous tune in the rigging. The masts were creeking
Early in the morning of the 14 Th of May, 1829, the crow's nest sailor Anisim
Arekhov, noted for his excellent eye vision, whose glance would not miss a
thing, persieved in the distance, at the very edge of the horizon, a white
cloud, which gradually turned into an arrangement of sails, then another and a
thrid...altogether ten. The Turkish suadron, having brought its prolonged
morage to an end, was putting out to sea.
With disbelief the Turks observed how three little Russian ships, appeared on
their course, did not make a speedy run for it, and were approaching. The Pasha
captain commanding the squadron, was confident of a quick and easy victory,
which would although in a small way permit his countrymen to regain confidence
in their power.
The Russian ships, approaching the enemy and having counted the enemies
strength, made a course change. On the mast of the "Shtandardt" the
signal banner announced "Set course for Sizopol'." Soon after
"Shtandardt" and "Orphei," were sailling by the wind, to
the North-west, and gained headway. The "Mercury," had turned against
the wind and was moving away, which then put the Turks in a quandry-- whom
should they chase after. The Pasha-captain spent little time thinking it over
and ordered the squadron to lay against the wind. "Mercury" was now
alone against the enemy ships. The ship's fate was now solely in the wind. If
the wind blew strong, the ship could easily gain speed, but when the wind died,
the brig became heavy, and was hard to steer.The weather on this occassion was
favorable to the enemy. The wind dropped substantially, and towards noon was
barely carresing the sails. The sculls were of little use. Kazarskyi and the
crew saw how from the squadron, two Turkish line ships the "selimie"
and "Real-bei" broke off and were now in hot pursuit. The distance
closed rapidly. The time was nearing when the wind was coming up against the
evaporating water flows and was rising up. And if low masted ships loose
momentum, then large line ships continue to move, carried primarily by
The Crimea was frequently visited by the aclaimed landscape painter, A. I.
Kuindzhi. In the picturesque corner of the south shore of the Crimea not far
from Kikeneiz (the present village of Opolznevoye, south of Simeiz) was the
studio of the painter. Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi was born in the city of
Mariupol in the Donetsk region. The history of Christian believers of the
Crimea is tied to this city. In 1774 the Russian government concluded an
agreement with the last Crimean Khan Shagin-Girem on the re-settlement of the
Christian population to the Northern Azov Sea local. Four years later more
thatn 31 thousand Christians, mostly Greeks departed from the Crimea. This is
how the Donetsk region came to have settlements with Crimean names: Yalta,
Gurzuf, Staryi Kruim and others. Amongst the deportees were the ancestors of
Arkhip Ivaonovich Kuindzi.
The Crimea regional local lore Museum (Simferopole) contains the scientific
archives of the noted Russian scientist-numismat, archeologist, and engineer
Alexander l'vovich Bert'e-Deligarda, 1842-1920. Amongst the unpublished
manuscripts of his work is item N0.49. "Vedomost'" khrstianskogo
naseleniya, vywhedshego iz gorodov I dereven' Kryma v 1778 g. I ostavshikhsya
posle nego starykh tserkvei v Krymu (bez daty).
The archeologists spent over a century searching for the missing port of
Nikonii. It was founded smetime in the last third of the VIth century B.C.
There was already a city called Ophius on the island in the river delta. The
new settlers found their neighbors freindly, the local was quiet and so they
chose to settle on the mainland. The river bend formed an adequate mooring
place. On their new lands the Greeks occupied themselves with their usual work:
cultivation, cattle herding, fishing, hunting, and various crafts. The city
quickly made trade relations with various Mediterainean centers as well as with
local tribes. In the early period, Nikonii took up a small stretch of the
plateau on the shoreline. It is possible that there existed an upper and lower
city. The lower city consisted of port facilities, warehouses, etc. around the
harbor. Up above was the main part of the city. Here were the community,
administrative buildings, as well as temples and oracles. At first it was a
small village primarily of dug in dweelings and some standing huts. No
appreaciable stone structures were built at this time. Around the village,
settlers began to live off the land by growing wheat.
A Turkish fortress is situated on the left bank of the Dniester estuary.
Close to the city of Ovidiopol.
When coming down from the Angar gap to Alushta, a turn in the road
-especially on a summer morning- opens a spectacular view on a mountain top,
which many guidebooks and tourists say is the most beautiful in the Crimea.
This mountain was once called, "smokey' and later local inhabitants gave
it another name --demerdzhi, which translated means blacksmith, because of the
columns of rising dew. The ruins of a middle age fortress called Funa as well
as natural stone formations which are 160 million years old.
Another Turkish fortress is located in the Perekop divide. In early spring
of 1736 following an unsuccessful autumn campaign in which because of severe
frost, nine thousand men were lost, General-field-marshall Minikh lead an army
numbering ninety thousand towards the Crimea, assaulted the Turkish fortress at
Perekop and captured the Crimean Khan's capital at Bakhchisarai. At the same
time the army of general P. P. Lacy (1678-1751), who was elevated to the rank
of general-field-marshall, from Heildelberg moved thru Krakow to the Azov and
took that fortress.
In May of 1739 Munich led his troops thru Poland to Khotin. At the end of
July they reached the Dniester, and on the 17th of August at a place called
Stavuchany, not far from Khotin, they met the ninety thousand strong army of
Turks led by Veli-Pasha, the minister of defense, (seraskir). A major battle
ensued in which the enemy was handed a resounding defeat; throwing away their
weapons and supplies the Turks ran in panic. Khotin was taken with hardly a