Decrees & Regulations

Topographical map of the Crimean Peninsula

You are looking at a fragment of a topographical map of the Crimean peninsula published in 1842 by the Military-Topographical Depot of the Russian Army. The map was built from the triangulations of Lt. Colonel Oberg and topographical surveys performed by Colonel Betev 1836-1838. The map consists of 8 sheets, each measuring 54x44 cm., glued on a fabric base. Black and white; relief shown with hachures. [This digitized copy was graciously provided by the Russian State Historical Archive. The map can be found in fond 1424, opis' 1, delo 166.]


Vineyards are a dominant feature of the coastal region; in fact, they are a fundamental element of the region's spatial culture. Focusing on the vineyards provides us with much of the core "grammar" of the space we are examining:
  • Many of the vineyards throughout the coastal region are clustered (the few that aren't are perhaps the most interesting).
  • The hachures are not detailed enough to allow us to make any robust observations about the relationship between vineyard locations and elevation other than to say that they do not follow ridge lines (not terribly surprising!).
  • Many of the vineyards are transected by roads (bear in mind that these were mainly dirt and wide enough only for a single carriage), ravines, and rivers.
  • All are confined within the thin tracery of lines meant to suggest a variegated terrain of ownership, value, varietal, etc.
  • The seemingly haphazard shapes and sizes of the vineyards suggest that geography played a more important role in the demarcation of vineyard properties than survey lines or other forms of land administration.
  • This map obscures any sense of change over time. Here we learn nothing about the genealogy of the lines demarcating one vineyard parcel from another, and we are left to wonder about the history of ownership and productivity. Happily, troves of archival documents allow us to overcome the interpretive constraints of this temporal flatness.

DAARK Fond 49, op.1: Tavrida Province Assembly of Noble Deputies

Fond 49 includes documents pertaining to the administrative concerns, appointments, elections to the noble assembly, the submission of petitions for noble status (some 273 cases), further documentation of such petitions, acceptance of such petitions (177 cases), and copies of the provincial noble registers (issued annually by the Heraldry).

State Archive of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Державний архів в Автономній Республіці Крим)

State Archive of Crimea_archives_gov_ua.jpg
Established in 1919. Transferred from Ukrainian to Russian authority in the aftermath of the (second) annexation of Crimea in 2015.

Simferopol uezd

Administrative unit within Tavricheskaia Guberniia.

Uezd Town: Simferopol

elusive women

Women are rarely mentioned in the documents describing noble status, but they are all over the cases described in the Senate confirmation lists.

Throughout "Beautiful Spaces" I have used a very basic tag - "women" - to mark Items in which a woman is mentioned by name (generally as wife or daughter of a member of the Crimean Tatar elite). As the site develops, so too will the taxonomy (one hopes!)

Lists of the Nobles of Tavrida Province

Contents of this delo:

  • List of those confirmed as nobles by decree of the Governing Senate and by decree of the Heraldry Office, 1839-1841
  • List of those confirmed as nobles by decree of the Governing Senate and by decree of the Heraldry Office, 1815-1841
  • Report on the number of families confirmed in their noble status between 1841 and 1861 (compiled May 14, 1871
  • Unresolved cases submitted to the Senate, 1857

disappearing women

Not only are women hard to find in the written record: often, just when you've found one, she slips out of view. Such is the case with Bakhty Sultan, daughter of Sali Bey [clan unknown], wife of Sefirşa Mirza Şirin, and mother to at least one son. We know this from the noble register entry of 1838. Seven years later she disappears - other deceased or simply left off the "list of confirmed nobles" that includes her husband and son.

bane of the historian's existence

The typographical error.

Here we find Abduraim Aga Khodzhaev on the list of confirmed nobles of Tavrida. It doesn't seem too much of a stretch to assume him to be one and the same as Abduraman Aga Kodzhaev, who was inscribed in the noble register in 1851. It would help if the noble register entry included his wife's name, which, according to the 1861 list, was Kutlu Sultan. 

Ought I to attribute the source of my frustration to relatively benign clerical sloppiness or to the age-old politics of gender?

Tavrida Noble Register

The noble assembly of each province was tasked with maintaining an official register of all resident nobles (as opposed to a register of all nobles who owned land in the province, which was another story altogether). The register (rodoslovnaia kniga) was updated annually, as individuals petitioned for inscription and were either confirmed as members or denied noble status by the assembly.

This project draws on the noble registers produced in the years 1804 to 1853, 1804 being the first official register for Tavrida.

RGIA f. 1343, op. 51: Heraldry Department of the Imperial Senate

Rodoslovnye knigi (noble registers) and inventories of individuals included in the dvorianstvo (nobility), 1683-1917