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Full-dress rehearsal of the Olympic museum

1-2 (2010)
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Antique masterpieces of Sochi can make its exposition.

The exhibition «the Olympic route of Russia, or Monuments of antique competitive culture of the south of our country» has been opened In Krasnodar. For the first time in history of centenary archaeological researches of antique epoch in one hall are put together sports artefacts of antiquity in original, copies and illustrations of things, that are stored in expositions of capital museums. It is supposed, that, having started in the Kuban capital, the exhibition will pass a tourist route which is designated in its name. Route geography: Krasnodar — Rostov — Taman — Novorossiysk — Gelendzhik — Sochi.

Certainly, the exhibition is devoted to the Olympic Games-2014. But its significance is much more important than plain story about the archaeological artefacts, indicative of competitions taking place in antique cities of Russia: they were just like those cultural phenomenon of ancient Greece, — Olympic, Panathenaic, Nymphaeum and others.

On the way to Sochi the exhibition will be improved and filled up both with exhibits, and illustrations of the masterpieces from the museums of Northern Black Sea Coast to create a virtual exposition — full-dress rehearsal of the future Olympic museum (for the materials see the magazine «Olympic Reporter»: №3-4 — «I will take you to the museum», and №7-8 — «Window into Europe»). In a context of the coming Olympic Games, ancient monuments of Sochi and antique region of the country as a whole, get special significance in the most different aspects — educational, propaganda, and, of course, economic.

First two aspects are clear: to give a picture of direct continuity of the Games beginning from the original archaeological monuments, myths, writing traditions. The economic aspect is obvious too. The new tourist route, uniting the largest archaeological reserves of the country, is, really, the creation of new economic branch in region, which will work after Olympic celebrations. This essay is devoted to antique epoch of Sochi — the capital of XXII White Olympic Games.

The territory of Sochi was included into antique Oikoumene, though here there were no big cities — such as Tanais, Phanagoria, Hermonassa, — the coast line is too narrow, there are no convenient bays for the ships. But the finds of archeologists indicate, that this region played active role in a life of Oikoumene. Trading ways through passes of Northwest Caucasus began in Sochi. Passes over the rivers Mzymta and the Shakh were convenient, when it was necessary to get to the middle course of the river Kuban, to Priazovye and Bospor, to the Lower Don.

Now there are no sports archaeological artefacts like in neighbouring to Sochi Gorgippia and Hermonassa, but the character of things from ceramics, metal, glass is geographically polyphonic — all classical antiquity of the Mediterranean and Black Sea Coast is presented in city archeology. Accordingly, both gods and heroes are illustrated by an Olympic and local pantheon in a chronological range of all thousand-year epoch of antiquity. Among them there are images of Gerakl (the founder of the Games in Olympia according to myths) and the ornaments connected with plots and heroes of poems «The Iliad» and «Odysseus», where for the first time sports competitions are described in written. In the following issue of the «Olympic Reporter» we will continue the story about Sochi antique masterpieces. They also can make the exposition of the unusual Olympic museum, which foundation our magazine supports.

We wish, that the Olympic museum was unusual. Probably, its form should reflect the existing world museum building tendency which can be indicated — from subjective to media. That is to be peculiar theatre, keeping inviolable sanctity of a monument — movable or immovable. And then it will be possible to return the Homer to school desks and antique mythology, to new architectural ensembles, to the modern art. After all, not once antiquity became a basis for culture revival, predetermining qualitative changes in all spectrum of society.


Author: Valery Chesnok