Monthly Archives: November 2017

Traveling around Crimea Chapter IX

JUR-JUR “Babbling”

Medved goraThe Ayu-Dag is the largest mountain in Crimea made up from an array of undeveloped rocks left over from the eruption of a volcano in the Middle Jurassic period, the molten magma did not escape to the surface, but solidified beneath the thickness of the sedimentary rocks, forming the dome of the “unsuccessful volcano.” The slopes and the top of the mountain are covered with forest, the mountain stands 2.5 km into the sea and resembles a sleeping bear in shape, about which many legends are composed. Nearby next to the resort of Gurzuf stands a children’s centre “Artek”.

Traveling around Crimea From Yalta via Alushta to Simferopol with a length of 95 km, runs the longest trolleybus route in Europe. In Alushta we turned off the main route on to a winding road along the southern coast of the Crimea leading down to the village of Koktebel.

The Crimean mountains cover a third of the entire peninsula. The south coast mountains with steep slopes and a gentle plateau, are Traveling around Crimea named yayly, from the Turkic word meaning summer pasture. The mountains of the South-Eastern Crimea are of volcanic origin and they have short ridges with soft lined hills covered in forest. In the Traveling around Crimea middle Ages the forest was mercilessly cut down by the Turks and exported, which started to cause a gradual climate change. By the order of Catherine the Great, the forests began to be replanted and were only allowed to be cut down after 100 years. The most common tree is Oak, it is fluffy with branches growing from the base. There are about 200 endemics plant species in Crimea.

Traveling around Crimea On the way one should stop in the village of Malorechenskoe, whereTraveling around Crimea in 2007 a very beautiful church-lighthouse of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker was built. At 65 metres, this is the highest temple in Crimea dedicated to all who died on the waters. The facade of the temple is carved with images of saints and an observation deck in front of the church is decorated with anchors and chains.

Further on a bit we reach Solnechnogorsk, where you turn off for a village called Generalskoye, JUR-JUR “Babbling”where you will see the most full-flowing waterfall in the Crimea named Jur-Jur, meaning “bubbling.” The Ulu-Uluzen River forms this JUR-JUR “Babbling”waterfall and it is one hundred meters high, this waterfall never dies as the river flows during all seasons. The Amphitheatre in the village of General is framed from the north by Mount Karabi and Demerdzhi, which keeps it cool in the hottest weather. The path to the waterfall leads through an overgrown forest with old oak, hazel, beech and dogwood trees, August and September is the ideal time to harvest berries from these.

The southern coast of Crimea is beautiful, but the beaches are not ideal for beach lovers, they Traveling around Crimeaare small, mostly pebbly and often they can only be reached from rocks or mountain paths. From Alushta to the village of Rybachye is aTraveling around Crimea mountainous area covered with forests, without many places for parking cars. Along the coast there are small resort settlements, with private rest homes and boarding houses, if you are travelling by car it is best to know this.

In the village of Rybachye is the first camping site near a sandy beach with clean water, during the whole season the beach is covered with tents. At the end of the summer season in August, the beaches are suddenly empty. We decided to finish our swimming season by the Sea, on this fabulous small and pebbled beach!

Main page

Russian version

Traveling around Crimea Chapter VIII

The teeth of Ai-Petri above the Pearl of Crimea

Yalta, CrimeaYalta is known as the pearl of the Crimean Riviera. The city of Yalta was founded by Greek navigators, who named it ‘yalita’ means on the coast. Yalta, was brought to the attention of the world after three world leaders “Stalin of the USSR” “Roosevelt of the USA” and “Churchill from the UK” Held a conference at the Livadia Palace in 1945 after the second world war.

Modern Yalta is one of the best resorts on the Black Sea, where a larger number of Yalta, Crimeasanatoriums and rest homes have been built due to its fantastic climate. Yalta, CrimeaUnfortunately, the beaches are small and mostly from pebbles rather than sand. Consequently, they are always extremely crowded during the summer season. Surrounding Yalta, there are many large palaces, beautiful parks and botanical gardens.

10 kilometers from Yalta lies the town of Miskhor, where you can see the Ai-Petri, a mountain massifYalta, Crimea originally formed from coral reef. In Yalta, Crimea1967, a cable car was built from the town to the top of Ai-Petri, some 1,234 meters above sea level. Construction was completed in 1987 and has a total length of 2,980 meters. 1,670 meters of which is suspended at a 45-degree angle of ascent without any supports, making it the longest cable car flight in Europe. Each cabin can accommodate up to 40 people and the climb to the top with one change at the intermediate station takes about 20 minutes.

Yalta, CrimeaAbout 200 million years ago the territory of the present Crimea was Yalta, Crimeacovered by the waters of the Tethys ocean. The teeth of Ai-Petri (the teeth of St. Peter in Greek), reminiscent of a crown, are limestone reefs formed from dead petrified corals and marine organisms, from the top one can get a magical view of the South coast, ranging from the Ayu-Dag mountain (Bear Mountain) because of a similar outline to a sleeping bear, to the village of Simeiz.

Ai-Petri , CrimeaAi-Petri , CrimeaThe mountains protect Yalta from the northern winds. When black clouds hang over Ai-Petri on a rainy day, Yalta basks in beautiful sunny weather. The air temperature on the Ai-Petri plateau is 7 degrees lower than in Yalta and snow usually falls in winter. Ai-Petri plateau is the windiest place in Crimea, winds sometimes do not stop here for several months and their speed can reach 50 mps. Strong winds affect the flora but the plateau has a beech-hornbeam forest, and fluffy oak, Crimean pine, juniper and pistachio can be found growing here. There is a small birch grove, which is very unusual for this place. Many of the plants are endemic.Ai-Petri , Crimea

Ai-Petri , CrimeaRecently, fixed suspended stairs between the battlements, have been built to test your courage as adrenaline entertainment, unto which you can step, very impressive! The main thing is not to look down, as they are 60 meters above the rocks, at 1200 meters above sea level.

Another amusement is the descent along a cable rope some 800 meters long at a height of 40 meters, along which you fly away from the Ai-Petri teeth at a speed of about 40 Kph.

You can drive down from the top of Ai-Petri along the Bakhchisarai to Yalta road, literally winding down the very steep slope, in some places reaching an 80 degrees angle. The road was built almost 30 years ago by Russian military builders and was completed by 1894. Since then, it has only been slightly expanded and covered with asphalt.

Uchan-Su, CrimeaOn the way to Yalta, there are several interesting and beautiful places. A beautiful view opens up from the Silver Arbor on the top ofAi-Petri, Crimea the Pendikul mountain (‘five lakes’) at an altitude of 865 meters above sea level. The Arbor was installed in honor of the people who built the road from Yalta to Ai-Petri and Bakhchisaray. In the ‘Drunken Grove’ because of a landslide, the pine trees are unusually tilted in different directions. Another is a walk to the waterfall Wuchang-Su (the Tatar word for ‘flying water’). This is the highest waterfall in Crimea, about 98.5 meters tall, although not the fullest. In the summer, when there is no rain, the waterfall tends to dry up. But in the spring thawed waters from the mountain rivers, wake the waterfall once more.

By the evening we arrived in Massandra, we bought some great wines from the Massandra Massandra wineryGurzuf, Crimeawinery and left late in the evening for the Yalta-Alushta road. Along the mountain road we passed many small resort villages, where parking spaces are limited. Wondering where to spend the night, we turned off the track at the foot of the Ayu-Dag mountain and set up a tent in the forest. The next morning we admired views of the Gurzuf village and the cliffs of Adalara in the sea, illuminated by the dawning sun.

Main page

Russian version

Traveling around Crimea Chapter VII

The Church of Christ’s Resurrection on the Baydarsky Pass

The Church of Christ's Resurrection on the Baydar PassThe road from Balaklava to Orlinoe, this was the old Tatar settlement, which used to be called Baydary. Passing through the Baydar Valley which slowly and gradually rises up the mountain pass through the main ridge of the Crimean Mountains. The Baydar Gate The Church of Christ's Resurrection on the Baydar Passdivides the Crimean coast into the Western and Southern regions. Once through the Baydar valley, an old Roman road used to connect it with the South Coast in winter, when storms prevented traffic via the sea. There is only a hiking trail left from the old road through the mountains at an altitude of 500 m above sea level, part of which passes along the Shaitan-Merdven “Devil’s Staircase”, named so because of its difficult stretches in some places.

The Church of Christ's Resurrection on the Baydar PassIn 1848 a new road was built from Yalta to Sevastopol, a white arch The Church of Christ's Resurrection on the Baydar Passcalled the Baydar Gate was erected at 527 m above sea level along this road with blocks of white limestone. In 1787, when it was not yet easy to travel along this route, Prince Potemkin brought Empress Catherine to this place.

Approaching the Baydar Gate from the west, travelers gradually climb the mountains along the  Baydar Passgentle slopes to the pass and the view suddenly opens up a huge panorama of the South Coast, which simply catches your breath. ‘And suddenly you scream, with the feeling of love washing down your mouth, body and soul. All at once the clouds and the bay rise in the gap over the Baydar Gate. ” So, wrote Vladimir Mayakovsky.

The blue unlimited sky merges with the boundless sea and against the background of clouds, one can see the silhouettes of grey rocks and the greenery of forests. At the top of the steep cliff above the valley stands the snow-white Foros Church of The Church of Christ's Resurrection on the Baydar PassThe Church of Christ's Resurrection on the Baydar PassChrist’s ResurrectionThe Church was built in 1892 on the Red Rock by the merchant A.G. Kuznetsov, the owner of a large tea company. He bought the land around Foros and built a mansion surrounded by a park. He dedicated the church to the miraculous rescue of the Russian Tsar Alexander III and his family in 1888 during a train crash from Crimea to St. Petersburg.

The church in Byzantine style is not facing east, like all Orthodox churches, but out to sea. In the years of Soviet power, when the Bolsheviks decided not to believe in God anymore, the church was closed and many church relics, icons and valuables disappeared without a trace. During the war, border guards hid in the church, the outer walls were damaged by bullets and shell fragments. When the Germans entered the Crimea, they used the church as a stable.

Once in the postwar period, an Iranian Shah travelled across the Crimea, accompanied by theBaydar Pass leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev. He invited the Shah to Baydar Pass a restaurant, which was opened in the Ascension Church after the war. To Khrushchev’s surprise, the Shah refused to have dinner in a holy place, considering it a sacrilege. The Soviet leader was indignant and ordered the restaurant to be demolished. By some lucky chance the church managed to survive and in 1991 after the restoration, it was transferred back to the Russian Orthodox Church and now serves its original mission.

ForosFrom the observation platform nearby, fabulous landscapes can be viewed around Foros which is located near the cape of Sarych, the Baydar Passsouthernmost point of the Crimea. Foros was founded in the 5th century BC by the Greeks who named the village Foros meaning ‘tax’. This small village was recognized worldwide in 1993, when Mikhail Gorbachev, past president of the Soviet Union, who was here at the presidential dacha during the coup d’état.

Baydar PassThe southern coast of the Crimea is bounded from the west by Cape Aya, from the Greek word means “Holy” and stretches to Kara-Dag. CrimeaThe Crimean southern coastal landscape resembles that of the Côte d’Azur of France, only Europeans do not hear about it because they do not visit Crimea very much. Europeans only hear about this peninsula from history and current political news.

From the Baydar Gate to the Foros church, the road winds its way past cliffs and descending paths down to Yalta.

Main page

Russian version

Traveling around Crimea Chapter VI

Jasper beach in Balaclava 

Jasper beach in BalaclavaJasper beach is situated at the foot of Cape Fiolent. From the St. George Monastery down to the beach where stone steps wereJasper beach in Balaclava constructed during the rule of the Greek chief monk named Tanaldo (1824-1854). According to records, there were originally 891 steps, their number coinciding with the year of the monastery’s foundation. I tried to find out how many of them are left now by counting them on the way to the beach but I lost count halfway down.

They are believed to be the highest steps in Crimea leading down to the sea. The descent takes Jasper beach in Balaclava15 minutes, after which your knees vibrate for a further 15 minutes. If one descends slowly, one can hear crickets singing in the scorchingJasper beach in Balaclava sun amongst the pistachio trees clinging to the rocks by their vigorous long roots, at the same time as inhaling the aroma of Crimean pine and juniper, whilst looking at the changing landscape with the romantic outline of the mountains.

The rock of the Holy Apparition of Saint George, is visible on the trail, from all points on the Jasper beach in Balaclavasummit. In 1991, the sailors of the Russian Black Sea Fleet installed a metal cross on it, where there was previously a white marble one, which was destroyed after the revolution in 1920. The marble cross was installed in 1891 by Nichandra the rector of St George’s monastery and the steps were carved to make it easy to climb up to it. It is assumed that the hermit monk Kallinik was buried on this rock when the Greeks left St. George’s monastery, he looked after the monastery after Crimea joined Russia, he was 118 years old.

Jasper beach in BalaclavaFiolent was formed from the eruption of an ancient volcano about 160 million years ago. Rocks and mountains were formed from frozen lava and layers of colored tuffs. The volcanic rocks washed byJasper beach in Balaclava the sea lined the shore with minerals, orange carnelian, gray-blue chalcedony and white agate. The beach was called Jasper because it was by the eruption of underwater volcanoes of the Fiolent, jaspers of blue, lilac, red, green, tender pink and white were formed. Polished striped patterns on the jaspers are so fascinating, they can be viewed endlessly.

Jasper beach with crystal clear water is one of the cleanest beaches in Crimea. Despite its Jasper beach in Balaclavaremoteness water sports are conducted there, such as kayaking andJasper beach in Balaclava skate-boarding. One should spend the night on the shore by moonlight to the sound of the sea, surrounded by rocks that look like ghostly images during the night. From this beach you can reach Balaklava by boat but in the morning, we endured the difficult climb back up the stairs to the monastery.

Jasper beach in BalaclavaFrom the Holy Monastery of St. George, we followed the Baydar valley, passing Balaklava on the way. Another ancient part along this road with a very interesting history. Balaklava bay is one of the most desirable bays on the Black Sea as the bends in the landscape hide the harbor from the sea. It is assumed that this bay is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey poem as Laestrygonians, where the giant cannibals attacked the ships of Odysseus. This is the first mention of Crimea as the Harbor of Laestrygonians. The ancient Greeks considered the bay mysterious and it was an impotant part of their colony in Crimea.

BalaclavaThe Russian fleet was stationed In Balaklava Bay long before the foundation of Sevastopol. A battalion of Greeks who took part on the Russian side during the Crimean war were placed there to protect the southern coast. During the visits of Russian emperors to the peninsula, the Greek battalion was charged with guard duty. An Amazon company of 100 Balaklava Greek women was formed by Prince Gregory Potemkin in 1787 to meet Empress Catherine the Great in Crimea.

During the Crimean War, Balaklava was occupied by the British army. In the English records, a special mention is written about the Balaklava battle of October in 1854. Due the unjustifiably large number of victims, the battle ground was named the Valley of Death by the British. In 1856, a monument was erected in the valley, to the dead British soldiers and was visited by SirBalaclava Winston Churchill during the Yalta Conference in 1945.

Half a league, half a league, 
Half a league onward, 
All in the valley of Death 
Rode the six hundred. 
‘Forward, the Light Brigade! 
Charge for the guns1′ he said: 
Into the valley of Death 
Rode the six hundred. 
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’ 
Was there a man dismay’d? 
Not tho’ the soldier knew 
Some one had blunder’d: 
Their’s not to make reply, 
Their’s not to reason why, 
Their’s but to do and die: 
Into the valley of Death 
Rode the six hundred. 

The Charge of the Light Brigade 
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Balaklava is also the name of the headdress that Lord Raglan, who led the British army during the Crimean War, invented for his warriors. With his inventions in clothing, the Lord left a more significant mark in history than his fighting feats in Balaklava. The raglan sleeve is also named after him, he came up with this shape to hide the hand that he lost in the Battle of Waterloo.

Leaving Balaklava, we departed from the Western Crimean coast and headed for the delightful views on the Southern coast of the Crimean Peninsula…

Russian version

Main page

Traveling around Crimea Chapter V

Fiolent ‘God’s Country’

Fiolent 'God's Country'There are many sacred and mysterious places in Crimea. The Tauris are the earliest tribes that inhabited this peninsula and written aboutCape Fiolent by Herodotus. They had their sanctuaries with altars built on very high cliffs from which it was possible to throw their victims. It is assumed that the Tauris had them high up, so that smoke from them could be seen for other tribesmen and warn them of any danger.

Cape Fiolent Cape Fiolent (Parthenium) for the Tauris it was one of those places where they beheaded captive travelers and offered sacrifices to the Cape Fiolent goddess Virgo. Some altars were also in Kara-Dag and Novy Svet and as a rule, in the most beautiful places, perhaps because nature beauty is such that most people believe there must be a creator. That is why tribes all over the world from time immemorial created their own gods.

Cape Fiolent Cape Fiolent known as the ‘God’s country’ is derived from the ancient Greeks, who founded their colonies on the shores of theCape Fiolent Crimea after the Tauris. They believed that in this place there was a temple of the goddess Artemis. Where else, if not on the Fiolent should there be a holy place? Today, on the top of the cliffs way above the sea, there is an Orthodox Monastery known as St. George, restored on the site of an older one destroyed by an earthquake in 1927. The history of this place is full of legends about deities, prophets and saints.

Cape Fiolent The area around the Parthenon mountain (the so-called Fiolent in ancient times) was the territory of the Tauric Chersonesos. When the Holy Apostle Andrew first time visited Tavrida in the 1st century to preach his sermons, he placed secret altars in mountains and forests,Cape Fiolent in order to protect them from being destroyed by Gentiles. Hence, why the first Christians lived far beyond the city in cave temples arranged along the coast. At Fiolent in 310 AD St. Basil, also expelled by pagans from Chersonese settled in a cave temple. Later, Cape Fiolent these places were converted into churches. In the 9th century the Chersonesos became the center of Christianity in Tavrida. Icon-worshipers from the Byzantine monasteries came to the cave temples at Fiolent, when their persecution began in their homeland.

According to legend, a Greek ship was heading for the temple of Artemis when at Cape Fiolent the Greek sailors were caught in a violent storm. When the Cape Fiolent sailors began to pray to St. George for their salvation, the Saint appeared standing on a rock about a hundred meters off the coast in all his radiance and the storm suddenly subsided. The sailors immediately clambered over the rock and found an icon of St. George. Nearby, on the site of an existing cave temple above the sea, they founded the monastery of St. George the Victorious. The year 891 is unofficially considered the year of the temple’s foundation.

Germanic barbarian tribes of the Goths destroyed the Bosporus kingdom and the Scythian-Sarmatian state. They left the temple in Cape Fiolent in ruins. It was eventually rebuilt but in the 16th and 17th centuries, the monastery decayed with the decline of the Christian faith Crimea. As a result of the rise of Islam, Christians began to adopt the Tatars way of life. Nevertheless, during the Crimean Khanate, St George was one of the few functioning Christian monasteries.

Cape Fiolent Between 1810 and 1816 thanks to the efforts and donations of Prince A.N. Golitsyn a new temple was built in the classic Orthodox style. This monastery has been visited by many famous people and emperors. Emperor Alexander the first of Russia visited the monastery in 1818, and after his second visit in 1825, he died on the way from Balaklava to Taganrog. No definite information is available about the death of the Tsar, therefore strange facts have been derived from his biography, such as his adherence to mysticism, giving rise to rumors that he converted to a monk at the monastery.

During the Crimean War (1853-1856) the monastery was almost two years under the occupation of the Anglo-French army, although the monks were allowed to continue their services, they were forbidden to go beyond the walls of the monastery. In this place a hospital for the enemy was set up, also Florence Nightingale, the first sister of mercy, lived in one of the hotels.Cape Fiolent

Alexander Pushkin also visited St. George Monastery in 1820 and he mentioned Fiolent in his poem “To Chedaev from the sea coast of Tavrida”. In memory of Pushkin’s visit to Fiolent and the monastery, a large circular balcony with a monument of the poet was installed on the top of the cliff overlooking the sea.

Russian version

Main page