Sights of Crimea

    Kara-Dag State Reserve
    • Kara-Dag State Reserve
    • Kara-Dag State Reserve  is a state reserve in Ukrane on the south-eastern part of the Crimea. The reserve is situated on the territory of volcano massif Kara-Dag. The main functions of the reserve are studying the biodiversity, monitoring of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

    Kara-Dag State Reserve is one of the youngest reserves in Ukraine. At the same time, its history began over 80 years ago, and the natural peculiarities of Kara-Dag mountain ensemble have been studying for about 200 years. Kara-Dag State Reserve that unites landscapes and areas of the open sea, which are unique by their richness and singularity, is a significant object of esthetic, historical and scientific importance. Reservation of this Crimean corner contributes to maintaining Kara-Dag ecosystems as the reserve of both biological objects and inviolable geological elements of the landscape together with many cultural monuments in the reserve itself and outside.

    Science knows Kara-Dag first of all as the godsent geological object having accessible outcrops of sections in the Jurassic volcanic complex. The volcanic origin of the Kara-Dag was established for the first time by A.A.Prozorovsky-Galitsin in 1891 which considered this area as the rest of a dim layered volcano. Subsequently this area is characterized, as a difficult geological complex where volcanic activity was showed not only on a land, but also at the bottom of the sea. Very big contribution to studying of this unique place T.I.Vjazemsky brought. In 1901 he comes to Crimea and buys on the east coast very neglected manor with the only one-storeyed small house existing then on the Kara-Dag. Vjazemsky believed that the wild beauty of coast, solitariness and a fertile climate would favour fruitful work of researchers-biologists with the weakened health.

    He buys building materials, employs workers and starts to build buildings for laboratory researches. Except the contribution of the capital to this project, Vjazemsky worked here as supplier and as the designer, and the construction superintendent. Creation of biological research stations here became the unique purpose and meaning of the life of the scientist. There were years and when work already came nearer to the end, the old doctor, having estimated a condition of the health soberly, decides to transfer the station to the Successes of Experimental Sciences Assistance Society of a name of H.S.Ledentsova at the Moscow State University.

    In March, 1914 generous gift with gratitude was accepted, and Vjazemsky was charged with management of his child. Thus, thanks to all these scientific researches by 1916 the Kara-Dag was one of the natural objects of Crimea most studied in the geological relation. Now that small part of southeastern coast of Crimea and water area of Black sea which occupies reserve, throughout last decades of the century experienced an intensive influence of the anthropogenous factor. Natural modes in ecological systems of Black sea was broken, the Southern coast of Crimea was a subject to considerable recreational influence. The researches which had been begun since the moment of the organization of reserve, were spent by forces of leading academic establishments of Ukraine; they had, first of all, inventory character and have been connected with history of studying the Kara-Dag.

    In 1976 - 1984 archaeological researches were conducted. They had especially prospecting character, that is they were limited by revealing of monuments, their external description. Coastal territory with the area about 35 sq. km, located between villages the Solar Valley and Nanikovo, including the Kara-Dag mountain ridges and Echki-Daga was captured archaeological investigation. Here on a joint of plains, mountains and the seas interests of the diversified tribes and the people ran into at all times, overland and shipping routes crossed. By rocky coast the Kara-Dag antique and medieval vessels passed, the sea trading way between Europe and Asia lay. It is not excluded that picturesque rocks the Kara-Dag remember the mythical ship Argo on which in the second half II millenia B.C. legendary Jason followed on Inhospitable sea (the ancient Greek name Black sea) to Colchis. In X - VIII centuries B.C. along these rocks Odysseus sung by the Homere floated.

    Somewhere in this area, according to Pseudo-Arrianus, skifo-tauric harbor was situated. During an epoch of the early Middle Ages, in 852, teams of the Novgorod prince Bravlin passed by the coast from Chersonese to Bospora. Later, in XIII - XIV centuries, caravans of Russian merchants-surozhans, about which St Ludwig’s ambassador - Rubruk – told, moved ahead. These places saw also hordes of Nogaj which devastated and burned Surozh (Sudack) and Kafa (Feodosiya) in 1289. In the autumn of 1472 the way of the well-known Russian traveler - Athanasius Nikitin who was coming back from Tver merchant «circulations for three seas» lay by eastern coasts of Crimea. These and other events left a trace in the history of Kara-Dag.

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