Historical museum complex “House of Peter Pallas,” located in the so-called “Vorontsovka,” Botanical Garden of the Volodymyr Vernadsky Taurida National University, hosted the opening ceremony of the craftsmen city “Forge of Happiness.” “Finally, the dream of all the masters of Chamber of Crafts came true,” Natalia Hordetska, the head of Chamber, told The Day. “There are many craftsmen in the Crimea engaged in all sorts of crafts – from smithery to embroidery, weaving, clay modeling, as well as many other kinds. We needed a center, where we could organize meetings, equip workshops, organize crafts classes for young people, hold master classes, exhibitions, fairs, and festivals. Now all this can be done at the museum complex ‘House of Peter Pallas,’ which had previously been inactive, abandoned, and simply got destroyed with the time.”
The museum complex is the architectural monument of national importance and the only country estate of the late 18th century that has been preserved in its original form. One of its first owners was academician Peter Simon Pallas, famous German and Russian scholar, lexicographer, geographer and traveler, explorer of the Crimea. Presently the building serves as the premises for the administrative corpus and storage facility of the historical and archaeological reserve “Scythian Neapolis,” but most of the buildings were empty – those that in time of Pallas and its later owners served as utility rooms, stables, coach house, and other. According to one of the organizers of the craftsmen city “Forge of Happiness” the chairman of the National Committee for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Crimea Larysa Opanasiuk, a couple of months ago the Crimean government has approved the plan for the development of the intangible cultural heritage of the Crimea, its preservation, and promotion. “It is very important because for a long time the Crimea was inhabited by different peoples and each of such ethnic groups left some part of their culture which is embodied not only in the architectural and archaeological monuments as well as in samples of monumental art, but also in traditions and crafts. The Crimea has been famous for this for a long time,” said Opanasiuk. “And today it is very important to preserve it all and revive at a new historical stage and new material basis…” Now, “Forge of Happiness” will become another great tourist site for the new Crimean tours. According to the Republican Committee for Cultural Heritage, craftsmen can arrange their workshops and their products here for free. Not very many craftsmen participated in the festival activities on the first day of the opening of the craftsmen city. Among those who presented their work were Crimean smiths, clay toy masters, potters, masters of weaving, members of folk doll club, masters of silverware production, members of history club, who make knight armor, and others. However, Opanasiuk hopes that the craftsmen city will expand with workshops of other masters and will become the starting point for the development of all areas of folk art, which are now combined in the Crimean Chamber of Crafts.