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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in ancient Greek and Roman architecture, a sanctuary consecrated to the nymphs. Nymphaea were usually built over springs and consisted of an altar and an open reservoir or building (sometimes a grotto) with a fountain or basin. In Roman architecture in the early first century B.C., nymphaea devoid of any cultic significance were popular. Such structures consisted of a niched wall with fountains.



an ancient Greek city in the Crimea, on the coast of the Kerch’ Strait, near the present-day settlement of Geroevka, 17 km from Kerch’. Founded in the sixth century B.C. on the site of a Scythian settlement, Nymphaeum reached its zenith in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. Its economy was based on agriculture and the export of grain to Greece. Handicrafts, particularly pottery-making, were also well developed. In the first half of the fourth century B.C., Nymphaeum was incorporated into the Bosporan State. In the middle of the third century A.D. it was totally destroyed by the Goths. Excavations, begun in 1939, have unearthed houses with paved courtyards, streets, water cisterns, a winery, and fortifications. Temples of Aphrodite and of the Cabiri, gods of the underworld, have been excavated on the acropolis. In the ruins of a temple of Demeter along the coast archaeologists have found gifts that had been brought to the goddess—terracotta figurines, vessels, and coins.


Khudiak, M. M. Iz istorii Nimfeia VI-III vv. do n.e. Leningrad, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A room decorated with plants, sculpture, and fountains (often decorated with nymphs), and intended for relaxation.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.