republic by the blue sea
Russian, Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar
Crimea is a peninsula on the shores of the Black and Azov seas. Crimea is a centuries-old history of the struggle for survival, wealth and glory. Crimea is a republic of brave and wonderful people who are ready for deeds for the sake of their Fatherland. Crimea is palaces and abandoned buildings, villages and skyscrapers, mountains and plains, fields of flowers and wild deserts, the cold of the night and the heat of noon. Crimea is a place to return again and again for every new impressive discovers.
Top 10 interesting places to visit:
Crimean bridge, Kerch
General's beaches, Kerch
Cape Chameleon, Koktebel
Golitsyn trail, Novyi Svet
Valley of ghosts, Alushta
Botanical garden, palaces and embankment of Yalta
Mount Ai-Petri, Yalta
Cave-city Eski-Kermen, vil. Krasny Mak
Khan's palace, Bakhchisarai
Karaite kenases, Yevpatoria
Sights map of Crimea
Detailed map of all places in the region can be seen on the website of the national tourism portal RUSSIA.TRAVEL
Travel in Crimea
Crimea greeted us with a cold, piercing wind. Although it was late May, the echoes of a receding winter could still be felt around. Spring came to the peninsula late, and therefore the air had not yet had time to be filled with warmth and aromas of flowering herbs. On the top of Mount Mithridat, the highest place in Kerch, flowers were just beginning to cover the abandoned ruins that had (and will stand) here for more than one hundred winters. The city itself, like most other places in Crimea, was founded by the Greeks who came here from the Mediterranean to establish Western colonies. All settlements on the peninsula were founded as fortresses; many of them to this day keep the memory of their centuries-old history, which is now covered with tons of sand and clay. Life almost left the peninsula with the collapse of Ancient Greece, the raids of nomads and other barbarian tribes; for many hundreds of years the peninsula was practically uninhabited. However, in some places, life did not stop for a minute - they were not abandoned from the very moment of their foundation. Kerch is one of such places.
In ancient times, the Greek city of Panticapaeum stood on the site of Kerch, the skeletons of which can be seen today on the top of Mount Mithridates. The city stood on both sides of the strait connecting the Black Sea with the Azov Sea, and controlled trade routes to the north and east, and therefore actively developed and prospered. It was the capital of the Bosporan kingdom, which stretched from present-day Sevastopol to Sochi in the south and Tanais in the north, and staunchly defended the territory from the raids of the warlike Huns, Khazars and Turkic tribes. When the Genoese came to these lands at the beginning of the 14th century, the city with all its surroundings passed into the possession of the Italians, who rebuilt the main part of stone fortresses along the entire coast of the peninsula. However, at the end of the 15th century, these lands were captured by the Ottoman Empire, which for a long time defended them from the raids of the Cossacks and Circassians. As a result, after the Russian-Turkish war of 1768-1774, the city passed to the Russian Empire, after which it began to actively develop and grow. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, Kerch experienced all the horrors of wartime, and the heroism of the local population was recognized at the level of the entire country; one of the places where you can touch the great deeds of the Kerch people is the Adzhimushkai quarries, in which they held a deadly defense for a long time. Already in the days of modern Russia, Kerch received a new stimulus for growth and development - when the construction of the Crimean bridge was completed, which connected the territory of Crimea with the "continent". Today, this grandiose building can be observed, including from the top of Mount Mithridates - in this place you can best feel the connection of generations through the darkness of centuries.
The outskirts of Kerch are steppes and hilly plains that surround the shores of two seas - the Black and Azov. The relief of the Black Sea is flatter and more fertile, clay and salt deposits are abundant here, which after rains form wide shallow lakes. One of these - Koyashskoye Lake - in warm weather begins to fill with pink crustaceans, due to which it gets a rich pink color. To see this miracle of nature is a great success! On the Sea of Azov, the relief is different - there are much more hills and stone capes protruding far into the sea and forming wide bays. These places are little known and not very popular with tourists due to the lack of infrastructure, and therefore attract romantics and wild tourists with their silence and natural beauty. Kazantip Reserve and Karalar Natural Park are two places where you should definitely enjoy the beauty of the steppes and sandy beaches.
Moving westward from Kerch along the Black Sea, Feodosia will be the next major city. The city was founded much later than Kerch, during the Bosporan kingdom, and began to flourish only under the Genoese. They built a massive fortress in it, the walls of which now adorn the city center. There is a wide embankment, sandy beaches stretching for kilometers and old estates of wealthy nobles who came from Moscow and St. Petersburg to the south during the warm season. The famous Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky was born and lived in Feodosia, who glorified him and other places of the Crimea in his paintings. The world's largest museum with its paintings is located in Feodosia and is a must-see for those who are fond of landscape painting.
The beauty of Crimea is in the mountains. From east to west, steep rocky peaks stretch severely overhanging residents and travelers for hundreds of thousands of years. The Crimean mountains appeared at about the same time as the Caucasian mountains, however, unlike the latter, they stopped their growth and froze in sculptures about 200 million years ago. One of the mountain ranges begins immediately behind Feodosia, extending westward to the Karadag Highlands. A nature reserve was created in its vicinity during the Soviet era to preserve the unique southern flora and fauna. Climbing to the top of Kara-Dag, you can see the azure surface and wide bays of the sea, which in these places is very clean and warms up well. Other significant places in the vicinity are Cape Chameleon, Koktebel Bay, and Lisya Bay. Particularly picturesque will be a short walking route from the village of Kurortny to Lisya Bay, during which you can enjoy the sea space and the mountains surrounding from all sides.
If you want real peace and quiet, to be alone with nature or to go on a real mountain hike, then you are in the Novyi Svet. This is a small resort village not far from Sudak, which is surrounded on all sides by high mountains and juniper groves. The air here is filled with the scent of the sea and the freshness of pine needles, at night it is calm and cool even in summer. Walk along the beautiful embankment, climb the Sokol and Koba-Kaya peaks, conquer the Celestial Peak and swim on the Tsarsky beach with black sand. And be sure to follow the ancient Golitsyn trail, which, according to legend, was founded by Prince Lev Golitsyn in the 19th century. He built vineyards here and established a factory for the production of champagne wines, which are still produced today. We can safely say that the Novyi Svet is one of the most picturesque places on the Crimean peninsula.
The road to the Novyi Svet will inevitably lead to Sudak - a prosperous city on the Black Sea coast, which has now become a resort area for those who "like it hot". The local climate is especially sunny and hot due to the location of the surrounding mountains, and therefore the sun shines in Sudak almost all year round, there is little rain and the air warms up on average by 4-5 degrees more than even in the neighboring Novyi Svet! The Genoese also ruled in Sudak - they built a large stone fortress here, which today receives tourists from all over the world. It's amazing how ancient history comes to life right before our eyes in the form of high walls, an ancient mosque and towers over the gates guarding the exit from the port. However, Sudak is famous not only for its fortress, but also for its picturesque capes, one of which should be specially noted. The Meganom Peninsula with the cape of the same name rises 350 meters above the Kapsel Valley, the rise here from the sea will take about 2-3 hours (only if you do not have an SUV), but it's worth it: a wide space, from which breathtaking, silence ringing in your ears and only constant wind blowing warm air over tired muscles. Not only avid tourists come to these places, but also seekers of magical power - according to legend, there are places of spiritual power, and the land and air are blessed here by nature and gods. That is why in the valley between Cape Meganom and Rybachy there are numerous sanctuaries (Hindu, Shaivist and others), to which people come to worship from all over the country. Some of them spend here days and weeks, resting soul and body in the contemplation of the azure sea and high mountain slopes, in peace and quiet in the middle of a stormy world.
The road from Sudak to Alushta is a continuous serpentine of sharp turns, ascents and descents. On some of them, it is impossible for two cars to pass, and in rainy weather it is closed due to possible landslides and too slippery surfaces. However, it is definitely worth driving. High mountains covered with deciduous and coniferous forests, deep ravines and eagles and falcons soaring above them, wine-making valleys and secluded settlements far in the mountains are a real paradise for hermits and those who want to touch the Crimean nature away from the crowds of tourists. It is also used by sports cyclists who train here during the warm season; undoubtedly, they have prohibitive endurance and fearlessness, flying along serpentines past cars at a speed of over 50 km / h! The lighthouse temple in the village of Malorechenskoye blesses them and the motorists, which is part of the memorial to all those who died on the waters and every day lights a guiding light for the ships.
Far in the mountains of Crimea, mineral springs are beating, which descend along the Zamansky ridge and combine into a murmuring mountain stream, which cascades down into the Khapkhal gorge with a cascade of waterfalls. These waterfalls are the deepest in Crimea and do not dry up even in the dry summer period. Local residents named the deepest of them "Djur-Djur" - "gurgling water". In the shade of the forests surrounding the cascade of waterfalls, it is cool even on the hottest day. From here begins the route to the Zamansky ridge - one of the longest and most mountainous in the Crimea. It stretches for more than 15 km from the waterfalls to South Demerdzhi (1240 m), at the foot of which the city of Alushta is located. On the top of Mount Demerdzhi there was filmed the film "Prisoner of the Caucasus", and at its foot is the famous Valley of Ghosts - a heap of stone outliers more than 5-6 meters high, which in foggy time partially hide in the clouds, which creates many ghostly illusions. here at a time like this - not for the faint of heart. Not far from Alushta, the Ayu-Dag mountain is located, similar in profile to the carcass of a giant bear. According to legend, a long time ago, bears really lived in the vicinity of Ayu-Dag, for which the locals christened the mountain with that name. Near the mountain are the picturesque villages of Gurzuf, Partenit and Utes, where tourists and guests of Crimea like to relax. The village of Utes is built up so densely that it begins to look like a view of the villages in the mountains of southern Italy, and in Gurzuf and Partenit you can walk with a panoramic view of the mountain ranges. Needless to say, the places here are very beautiful!
However, the pearl of these places is Yalta - the largest city on the Crimean coast (with the exception of Sevastopol), surrounded on all sides by thousand-meter peaks and resort villages, most of which are palaces and villas of noble and imperial families. Until the annexation of Crimea to Russia in 1783, Yalta was a small settlement of the Crimean Tatars, who, together with the Karaites and Krymchaks, constituted the indigenous population of Crimea. In the next 40 years, Count M.S. Vorontsov developed vineyards and agriculture in the valley, and also actively advertised the local land as a southern resort among the imperial court, especially in terms of the healing properties of the local climate. As a result, luxurious palaces and villas were erected here, industrial gardens and vineyards were laid, as well as magnificent parks that adorn Big Yalta today: Alupkinsky, Massandrovsky, Gurzufsky, Livadiysky and others. Palaces, parks and estates were located at a great distance from each other, and therefore the center of this area, Yalta for a long time was a small district village with a trading pier. Only in 1837 a gravel road connected Yalta with Alushta and Simferopol, and in 1848 a road was built through the Baydar Gate to Sevastopol. And so it happened that Yalta was literally surrounded by imperial and noble residences, thanks to which it received financial and political support and actively developed. In the 1880s, a wide embankment was built here along the seashore, which pleases tourists to this day.
Today Yalta attracts tourists from all over the world. Local beaches with large pebbles are refined and have clear azure water, and in large manicured parks you can spend more than one day walking under the shade of trees and tropical bushes. Most of the palaces have survived, which can be visited as part of tourist groups or on their own: Massandrovsky, Vorontsovsky, Livadiysky, Yusupovsky, Dyulber, Swallow's Nest ... Finally, the Nikitsky Botanical Garden, founded in Soviet times, is a real masterpiece of botany (and one of the oldest in Russia) : Walking in the cool canopy of trees on a hot summer day, contemplating color compositions and tropical plants is a real pleasure. And if you want real adventure, you can go hiking in the surrounding mountains, visit the Uchan-Su waterfall and climb to the top of Ai-Petri (1233m), from where a breathtaking panorama of the sea and Big Yalta opens.
The further journey along the southern coast of the Crimea will lead to the magnificent Sevastopol, which is worthy of a separate chapter of the trip to Crimea. Therefore, we will go deep into the peninsula, where the history, life and traditions of the local population will be revealed in all their glory. These lands have long been inhabited by the Karaites, Crimeans and Krymchaks, who founded many settlements here and led a semi-settled, semi-nomadic lifestyle. In the Middle Ages, the Crimeans rebuilt a large number of cave cities to protect themselves from the frequent raids of barbarians and attacks of the Turks; this is how Eski-Kermen, Mangup-Kale, Kachi-Kalion, Tepi-Kermen, Chufut-Kale and many others arose. It is amazing what efforts local architects had to make to create full-fledged cities among the rocks, and what difficulties the locals experienced while living in these cold and humid caves. Some cities are now completely abandoned, some have become objects of tourism. There is no need to visit them all, because they are very similar to each other; especially noteworthy are Eski-Kermen - as the wildest and most extensive city on the peninsula, and Chufut-Kale - the former residence of the Crimean khans. In their vicinity there are two Orthodox monasteries that continue the centuries-old history of cave architecture to this day: the skete of Anastasia Uzoreshitelnitsa and the Assumption Cave Monastery. Their surroundings are covered with wildflowers, poppies and lavender carpets in spring and summer, which adds bright colors to the trip to Crimea.
One of the most interesting cities in the republic is the ancient capital of the Crimean Khanate, Bakhchisarai. In 1532 Sahib I Giray founded a khan's residence two kilometers from Salachik, the first capital of the Crimean Khanate, calling it Bakhchisaray - "palace-garden". Subsequently, the capital city grew around the new khan's residence, which has partly preserved its cultural and architectural heritage to this day. The Khan's palace founded at that time is still the only example of Crimean Tatar palace architecture in the world, partly similar to Turkish, partly to Caucasian. It is sung in A. Pushkin's poem "The Fountain of the Bakhchisarai Palace", it was visited by Catherine II when she arrived in the annexed lands, it played a key role in the life of the Crimean Tatars. It is no wonder that to this day they strictly observe their customs and protect the palace and its surroundings from the crowds of tourists who come here to touch the ancient history of the Crimean peninsula.
Like every region, Crimea has its own capital. However, unlike most other capital cities, which are the adornment of the region and concentrate all the beauty of culture and wealth of the population, Simferopol is an ordinary industrial city. There are no large parks and palaces, ancient history and chic architecture, natural beauty and cultural delights here. It is the center of the administrative and industrial life of the region, around which there are numerous factories, hectares of arable land and the main transport hubs of the region - the airport, railway and bus stations. The majority of tourists who come to the peninsula only get a glimpse of Simferopol, hurrying to the azure shores and mountain gorges. Nevertheless, there is the largest historical museum on the peninsula, a large art gallery, and nearby is the high White Rock - a monolithic limestone ingot created by the forces of nature millions of years ago. There is definitely something to do in Simferopol in your spare time!