17-05-2024 History of Ukraine 668

The Mysterious History of Snake Island

The Mysterious History of Snake Island

Snake Island, which is situated in the Black Sea, is surrounded with legends and draws attention with its unique history. This exciting corner of the world belongs to the natural reserve and is considered to be one of the most interesting places for research in Ukraine. In this article we will plunge into the world of Snake Island, reveal its historical significance and talk about the secrets and legends which surround this picturesque place.

According to the Greek legend, Snake Island was raised from the depths by the marine goddess Thetis for her son Achilles. The island was mentioned for the first time in written sources at the end of the 7th century B.C. – there it was called Levka (which translates as White). The island is also mentioned by Ovid, Strabo, and Herodotus.

The Island of Achilles

Ruins of the ancient temple of Achilles. Snake Island

Ancient Greeks called it “the Island of Achilles”, because there were the temple of Achilles and his burial place. Modern Greeks call it “Λευκός” (White island), the Romans had the same name for this island – Alba. The other names are “Insula Şerpilor” in Rumanian, “Yılan Adası” in Turkish, and “Φιδονήσι” in Greek. The modern name Snake Island is connected to the fact that there were a lot of snakes or grass-snakes (which swim there from the mouth of the Danube), which can climb on the tree branches. Since 19th century there have been a great number of snakes on the island.

Snake Island had great significance during Greek colonization of the Greek Crimea in the 8th -6th centuries B.C. The Greek ships sailed there; navigators, traders, military sailors visited the temple of Achilles, who was considered to be the ruler and the patron of the Black Sea. They worshipped Achilles and made sacrifices. It was one of the many sacred elements of the ancient Greeks’ culture.

The ruins of the ancient temple of Achilles (the square building) were found and described in 1823, and later a great amount of the building materials of these ruins was used for construction of the lighthouse on the island.

Natural Reserve Is a Genuine Pearl of Ukraine

The significance of the island increased since it was designated as a natural reserve in 1968. This decision helped preserve the unique biological diversity of the island and also became the basis for carrying out scientific research and ecological projects on Snake Island. Today Snake Island is an important symbol of nature and cultural heritage of Ukraine which attracts attention of local tourists and those from all over the world.

Zmeinyi Island, Ukraine. History. Figure

Snake Island is a genuine pearl among the natural landmarks of Ukraine. Its history belongs to national heritage, and its legends attract travelers, researchers, and tourists from the whole world. At the same time, Snake Island evokes an increased interest among scientists and lovers of nature because it is a unique ecosystem complex. Visiting this island, people have the opportunity not only to admire its beauty and tranquility, but also to enrich their knowledge about natural processes and contribute to conservation of this important natural reserve. Snake Island is a place where nature and legends are interwoven, giving unique experience to everyone who has the courage to discover this charming corner of the planet.


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