The Argonauts’ Golden Fleece Monument was inaugurated in downtown Sochi, Russia at the initiative of the Greek expatriates living in the Black Sea Russian resort, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games
The monument depicts the Golden Fleece amidst two columns guarded by the Colchian Dragon and is erected in the city’s Fine Arts Square next to the Sochi Art Museum. It was created by museum director Piotr Khrisanov and Jakov Matusovski after working on it for two years.
“Greece, Sochi and the Olympic Games are tightly linked”, Piotr Khrisanov stated in the inauguration ceremony, adding that according to the ancient Greek mythology the Argonauts arrived there, at the Black Sea coasts in Caucasus, in search of the Golden Fleece. “We have simply restored the historical truth”, he said referring to the claims voiced regarding the Argonauts’ tradition and the arguments used by the people of neighboring Georgia that the Argonauts had disembarked on their land.
Sochi Mayor Victor Kolodyazhny pointed out that the Golden Fleece will become a symbol of prosperity for the local people, while the President of the Greek-Russian Chamber of Commerce Pavlos Kosmidis expressed the hope that “relations between Russia and Greece will continue to strengthen”.
The Interfax news agency mentions that the monument is made of bronze and its surface is covered with a gold layer. “Its builders have not announced the weight of the gold used while the monument’s total weight is roughly 5 tons”. According to the local mass media, the entire initiative belongs to the Greek community of Sochi.
Local Greek-Russian Chamber of Commerce President Pavlos Kosmidis believes that this was a natural development as a result of the notable maritime communication between Greece and the region’s coasts. He also reminded that a “Greek cultural treasure” was discovered in the outskirts of Sochi 6 years ago comprising numerous works of ancient Greek art that are currently displayed in the local Art Museum. Kosmidis expressed the certainty that the Golden Fleece, the Argonauts were searching for, was kept in the region of Sochi.
According to Sochi Art Museum Director Piotr Khrisanov a similar monument will be erected in the Greek city of Volos, a sister city of Sochi, from where the Argonauts had set out for their campaign. He also added that a crew of modern time Argonauts will sail into the port of Sochi in June on board an exact full-scale model of the legendary “Argo” ship.