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Groundwork

Beautiful Spaces has egalitarian leanings. It considers the tantalyzing possibility that each individual shred of the historical record has significance - significance that can be unearthed by restoring the rich context, or vantage point, from which that particular shred relates to other shreds both like, and unlike, it.

The idea here is to see what happens if we quell our instinct to define historical significance solely in terms of how clearly an item contributes to a "big" story, and instead work to 1) cultivate our awareness of how pieces of the historical record connect to one another, and 2) find meaning in the structure and patterning of those connections.

The "groundwork" of the project is a series of collections that describe what I consider to be the crucial elements of the natural and built landscapes of Crimea. Together, the items in these collections go a long way toward revealing the spatial structure of the peninsula as well as the way its space was conceptualized, imagined, and experienced. Click here to see an example of how these elements came together to create Crimean space.

For the most part, these collections are filled with items drawn from reports and accounts written by men (and a few women) who lived in, studied, or traveled through Crimea in the late 19th and early 19th centuries. There are exceptions, but my idea was to capture certain views of Crimean space, rather than attempt to document and describe every nook and cranny. Deep maps and thick descriptions are important genres, but Beautiful Spaces is based on more humble, almost spartan, principles: it aims to select, to connect, and to expose, and in so doing say something new about Crimean history. 

Use the links below to access and examine the core content - the groundwork, so to speak - of the site

Abandoned Villages

72 villages abandoned by various Christians in 1778; [] villages abandoned by Crimean Tatars between 1783 and 1817 [coming May 2017].

Antiquities

71 burial sites, churches, and fortifications

Dachas

129 properties granted to members of the imperial elite

Estates

15 noble residences arrayed along the famed southern coast and known for their astonishingly beautiful - or simply astonishing - architecture and landscape design

Gardens

43 locations, 821 gardens, 19,193 trees

Pious Endowments

[coming May 2017]

Vineyards

[coming May 2017]