The ancient Greek countryside is known archaeologically at a handful of sites in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Chersonesos is, with the possible exception of the chora of Metaponto, the best preserved and best documented example. A common interest in the research and the preservation of the chora drew ICA to Chersonesos in the first place in 1992, and continues to provide a focus and a bond for our collaboration. Galina Nikolaenko first had the idea of creating a park of the ancient chora at Chersonesos, and this goal has received constant support from ICA. Preliminary plans for the preservation and presentation of the entire chora were drawn up in 2001 and 2002 by Dr. Nikolaenko and ICA architects Carl Holiday and Alma Maldanado, with generous support from PHI. Internationally renowned preservation architect Giora Solar joined the effort to develop the park in 2004 as a consultant to ICA and the Preserve.
Detailed planning and budgeting has focused on one area of the chora consisting of approximately 150 hectares in the Yukharina Balka. Designated as Area 10, this section contains nine examples of the famous Chersonesos country "estates". Current plans for the park call for a visitor center at the entrance to orient the public for tours of the ancient farm sites and other monuments in this extensive area. The visitors' center will present information about these remains through exhibits and lectures in a small lecture hall. Displays and lectures will treat such subjects as rural life in ancient times, paleobotanical research, and archaeological field practice. Tours in Area 10 will focus not only on visits to points of interest but also on the observation of ongoing excavations and conservation projects.
The Ukrainian government has recently called for the preservation of all designated archaeological areas in the chora, covering a total of 400 hectares. It is our hope that the protection of this unique landscape and its presentation as an archaeological park will help to qualify the chora of Chersonesos as a World Heritage monument, thus confirming it as a source of pride and a very valuable asset for Sevastopol and all Ukraine.