The image of Crimea among British travelers Edward Clarke and Reginald Heber at the turn of the 18th-19th centuries

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Abstract

This paper analyses two books by British travellers offering accounts of Crimea in the first decades of the Russian period in its history. Crimea became a stage in Western Grand Tour, offering a possibility to view and discuss different phenomena: Mediterranean environment, cultural heritage sites, multiethnic populations confessing different religions, the change of Crimea’s political status, and the first results of Russia’s attempts of its integration. The comparison of these two travelogues with other sources and the materials supplied by current researches has uncovered who the British mind interpreted Crimean realities. The travellers created unified image of Crimea featuring its past, present, and future. The travelogues under analysis uncover the features of researchers’ thinking in the period of transition from the Enlightenment to the Romanticism. This way, the notion of ethnic processes actually restricted to the search for modern parallels of ancient ethnic names. The books under study reflect a complicated and controversial process of Crimea’s integration into the Russian Empire. Heber considered the future as economic progress and therefore thought it necessary to develop Crimean trade, infrastructure, and economy, building them into all-Russia and all-Europe network. Clarke’s opinion of Russia was distinctly negative, therefore he thought desirable to ‘return’ Crimea to the Ottomans. The travellers created several stereotypes, such as the ideas of ‘earthly paradise’ in Crimea, ‘Tatar laziness,’ ‘golden age’ of the Crimean khanate, or ‘barbarous destruction’ of cultural heritage monuments by Russians, still existing in Western mind.

About the authors

Nikita I. Khrapunov

V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University

Author for correspondence.
Email: khrapunovn@gmail.com

Кandidat istorycheskikh nauk [PhD in History], leading researcher of the Department of Modern History at the History and Archaeology of Crimea Research Centre, V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University.

4, Vernadskogo Ave., Simferopol, Republic of Crimea, 295004, Russia

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