Nikita Botanical Garden.

At the Nikitsky Botanical Garden there is an exotic looking site called Martian Cape. Its sides are covered by a little pine forest rising up from a craggy seashore.

This is probably how the Crimea’s seashore near the village of Nikita looked like on June 10, 1811, when an ukase was signed in St. Petersburg decreeting the establishment of the Imperial State Botanical garden in the Crimea.

Its first director was Christian Steven, who arrived in Nikita in July 1812 and worked here till 1827.    More….

Christian Steven was then thirty years old and had traveled from Bessarabia to the Caspian Sea.

An expert in the agriculture of southern Russia, he had a good knowledge of the flora and fauna of this area and was a well known scientist. But the most outstanding quality of this young man was his boundless enthusiasm and love for botany.

The Garden’s annual budget was 10,000 rubles, a misery sum compared with, say, the 150,000 Count Razumovsky spent every year on the maintenance of his private botanical collection.

Money was scarce — so was manpower. The director had to be both gardener and clerk of works, and at times even a bricklayer. The soldiers and sailors who were sent from Sevastopol were his only help through the first four years.

Nonetheless Steven was a great optimist. He dreamed of a time when every child, even in the remotest northern village, would know the taste of grapes and peaches.

In three years he complied a catalog of plants which the garden offered for reproduction.

In 1818 its homological collection was considered one of the richest in Europe.

By 1824 the Garden had introduced 226 decorative trees.

In his attempt to revive olive-growing in the Crimea, Steven distributed olive seedlings among the population free of charge with only one condition: that they be tended according to his instructions.

Steven organized a gardening school for serf children and orphanage inmates. Its graduates were active in setting up botanical gardens in Ukraine, in Russia’s southern provinces and Moldavia.

He founded a scientific library and established contacts with many research institutions and amateur horticulturists throughout the world.

Steven’s successor,  Nikolay Gartvis, a talented botanist, carried on this good work 33 years (1827 — 1860 ) .

In the settlement of Magarach he planted a vineyard to which he transferred the school of wine-growers from Sudak. Eventually the school developed into an independent research establishment. The wines produced at Magarach were entered in international competitions and won a number of awards.

The subsequent history of the Nikitsky Botanical Garden was shaped by such outstanding scientists as Vasiliy Keller (1860-1865), Nikolay Tsabel (1866-1880), Alexander Bazarov (1881-1891), Pavel Antsiferov (1891-1897), Konstantin Tarhov (1898-1902), Michail Shcherbakov (1907-1915), Nikolay Kuznetsov (1915-1919), Theofil Kalaida (1920-1927 ), Anatoly Koverga (1939-1958) Under Professor Mikhail Kochkin, D.Sc. (Agric)( 1958-1977), Eugene Molchanov (1979-1988), Adolf Leschuk (1992-1999) and nowadays director Valery Eugov (since 1999) the Garden has become a research establishment. The dream of Christian Steven became true.

The oficial-site of the Nikitsky Botanical Garden







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