Crimea, the Russian Riviera

Crimea, the Russian Riviera

“Russia needs its paradise,” said Grigory Potemkin, longtime lover of Empress Catherine the Great, about Crimea.

Crimea is the pearl of the Black sea, or Russian Riviera. Historical epochs and climate zones are intertwined here. The mild climate makes it possible to enjoy your vacation at any time of the year. Nature is striking in its diversity: more than 100 plants listed in the “red book” grow on the territory of the Peninsula. All this, and for many years attracts travelers from different countries. One of the first such travelers was Afanasy Nikitin, who 550 years ago became the first European, Russian to visit India. It was in Crimea that he wrote a book about his journey – “Journey beyond Three Seas”. There is a monument to Afanasy Nikitin, to an outstanding traveler in Feodosia.

As an old legend says, no land is better than Crimea! Endorsed by the Tsar’s (Emperors) of the Russian Empire as each one of them had their holiday homes built here.

You will never find another place with such an unbeatable uniqueness and such an amazing blend of picturesque landscapes, historic events and people’s stories. There is a particular magnetism in Crimea’s gentle sun, in its mountains, old palaces and fortresses, in its milk-warm sea and friendly smiles of the local people.

Having visited Crimea once, you will always long for coming here again. This phenomenon cannot be somehow explained. It can only be felt with your soul and your heart…The astounding diversity of nature ensures the first-time visitor will find some part of Crimea reminiscent of his home. From the flowering Alpine meadows to the dramatic landscapes of the table mountains of America, from the endless plains and steppe lands to the wetlands of central Russia. You’ll find the full spectrum of nature’s manifestations from impassible woodlands like in Siberia to the bleak tundra you’d find in the arctic.

Crimea’s coast is also very diverse, from pristine shallow beaches with sandbars like the Baltics to the majestic mountains plunging steeply to the sea reminiscent of Sicily – that’s why it’s not surprising Crimea has been set for countless films where various foreign locations were required in the same place. And all of this within a couple of hundred kilometers.

Crimea 4 You!

Crossroads of Great Civilizations

Crimea is an ancient land of the Cimmerians, Hellenes, Scythians, and Taurs. It is the homeland of Achilles, the hero of the Trojan War. According to legend, Dionysis taught mortals here how to grow grapes and make wine.

Archaeological monuments describe the history of Crimea from primitive people to today. And many of the Heritage sites of Crimea you can visit today, getting acquainted with it ancient, multicultural history

Simferopol is the capital of Crimea, the business and cultural center. The late-Scythian center of Scythian Neapolis was built here in the 3rd century BC. Its ruins can be found in the Petrovsky Heights. Colorful historic costume festivals celebrating ancient culture and life are held here every year.

Kerch is the sea gate of the Crimea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, just one year younger than ancient Rome. Its history is told by the hot stones of the capital of the Bosporan Kingdom Panticapaeum, Tyritake, Nymphaeum and the small Myrmekion, the birthplace of Achilles (if we believe the Byzantine historian Leo the Deacon). The city was built on Mount Mithridat, named after Mithridates VI of Pontus who ruled the Bosporan Kingdom more than 2,000 years ago.

Koktebel is a picturesque corner of Crimea loved by Russian bohemians who would stay in the house of famous Russian poet Maximilian Voloshin. This house became the heart of Russian creativity.

Sudak, the western capital of the Silk Route, is a rich market town that has witnessed many historic upheavals. The heavy stones of the Genoese fortress preserve the centuries old memories of Greek and Italian rule, of brave Slavs, and terrifying Turkish raids.

Yalta was the favorite town of the Romanov Royal family. The palaces of kings and princes along the south coast are an exquisite pearl on the imperial crown. The climate here is very similar to the climate in the resorts of Italy and Southern France where people successfully cured tuberculosis.

Visitors to Evpatoria will find sandy beaches with shallow waters and plenty of things to do for children.

Bakhchisaray Palace is a unique eastern architectural monument from the Middle Ages, the only example of Crimean Tatar palace architecture.

Crimea’s ancient beauty and heritage is best seen in the much-talked about-city of Sevastopol. Tauric Chersonesus, an ancient city recently excavated is a must-see on the fringe of the city on the coast of the Black Sea. A labyrinth of precious and heroic ruins, Chersonesus is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Here in Sevastopol one can find a warm version of Sr. Petersburg, with neo-calssical buildings jutting right on the water.

Ancient Rome.

In the first century the Romans built the Charax fortress to gain a foothold in Crimea. It was also in this era that Christianity spread across the peninsula. One of the most interesting remains the Romans left in Crimea is a road called the Legionnaires Path.

In Balaklava, which is part of Sevastopol, there are excavations of a Roman temple, with altars with inscriptions addressed to the gods Jupiter, Hercules and Vulcan. In the 3rd century the Crimean steppes were invaded by the Central Asian nomadic Huns, and the mountainous region of the peninsula fell under the rule of the ancient Germanic Goths. This ancient city, became an outpost of Byzantine influence on the peninsula. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian revived the city of Bosporus and founded the Sudak Symbolon, and Gurzuf fortresses in Crimea.

At the beginning of the 8th century, Byzantium shared the peninsula with the ancient Turk Khazar Khanate, adding the Jewish Krymchak and Karaite ethnic groups to the already multiethnic Crimea.

Cave Cities

The Crimean Mountains were an obstacle for the Hun riders that prevented them from taking the whole peninsula. The local people erected fortified cave cities to escape from the nomads, and many of the cities lasted up until the 18th century. Today there are many routes in Crimea from which caves, temples, wells, houses, stairs and entire streets carved directly into the limestone can be seen.

The best preserved of them is Chufut Kale, or fortress, which was founded in the 6th century. Over the centuries this city was occupied by Tatars, Ottomans, Christians, and finally, the Jewish Karaite people. Here there are the defensive structures of the fortress, the mausoleum of Khan Tokhtamysh‘s daughter, an underground gallery 80 meters long, a 30-meter deep well, the remains of an ancient mosque, several houses, the ancient Karaite cemetery and a sacred oak grove. Not far from Chufut Kale is the Holy Dormition Monastery, which is one of the oldest in Crimea (founded in the 7th century). It consists of five churches, chapels, and many monastic buildings that are all carved into the mountain.

Another cave monastery is Chelter Koba, which was founded by icon-venerating monks who were fleeing from Byzantine. The refectory, cells, and warehouses are carved right into the side of a cliff, and the main shrine of the monastery is located in a karst cave. It is the largest cave church in Crimea.

The ancient settlement of Tepe Kermen is located on the eponymous mountain buttes. Here more than 250 caves were carved into the mountain to be used for everything from stables for livestock to lookout towers. Not far away is Kachi Kalon, a monastery that existed for more than 1,000 years. Another cave monastery is Shuldan, built on a rocky cliff near the village of Ternovka. Besides churches, huge wine-press rooms are located here.

The baptism of Russia happened in Crimea

In the 9th century Cyril, the creator of the Cyrillic alphabet (script used to write Russian language), arrived in Crimea. At that time the Slavic Rus tribes also appeared on the peninsula. It was here that Russian Prince Vladimir was baptized. The end of Russian dominance in Crimea came with the arrival of the Polovtsev (12th century), whose language is a forerunner to the modern Crimean Tatar language. Then the peninsula was occupied by the Tatar Mongols and Islam spread across Crimea. In 1475 the Ottomans turned the Crimean Khanate into a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire, which lasted for three centuries until the victory of Russia in the Russian-Turkish War (1768-1774) put an end to the domination of the Ottoman Turks and their claims to Crimea. The peninsula became part of the Russian Empire.

Welcome to Crimea, the Russian Reviera!

Location : Crimea

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