Crimea: Pearl of a Fallen Empire (National Geographic, 1994)

Yalta embankment

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, smiles at me and says that she loves Crimea. "In good hands, it could be the most amazing heavenly place." Oh, yes, of course, this expressive lady in expensive silks and velvet, with a crimson ribbon across her lush chest, is actually an actress dressed as an empress on the occasion of celebrations in honor of the founding of the port city of Sevastopol in 1783 (pronounced Seh-vas- toe-pol). But her feelings are close to what the historical Catherine felt two centuries ago. That Catherine said that Crimea is the most beautiful pearl in her crown. What is so great about this peninsula the size of Vermont [state in the US], jutting from mainland Ukraine into the Black Sea?
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Make Wine, Not War!

Crimean grape

The grape growing tradition had been brought to Crimea by the first Greek settlers who came to the peninsula in the 5th century B.C. Wine (especially when watered down) was a very important element of the Ancient diet since it helped digesting the food. The tradition of grape growing in Crimea died down after the 15th century Ottoman invasion. Once the peninsula was occupied by the Ottoman Empire, it became a part of the Muslim civilisation that prohibits wine production and drinking. However, this did not destroy the grape growing culture; only now, grape was used to make raisins.
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Crimea. First Ever Russian Health Resort

Crimea revealed a new way of life to the Russian Empire that, up to the beginning of the 19th century, was mainly a Northern civilisation with the capital located in the swamps of the Finnish Gulf. Consequently, many Russian people used to suffer from lung diseases; particularly, tuberculosis, the “plague” of the 19th century Russia. The construction of the Sevastopol railroad had allowed the Russians to come to the South not just for vacation purposes but also to improve their health. Prior to that, the Russian aristocracy preferred Italy or the South of France.
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Unique places of Crimea for travel: sequoia grove

In the middle of the twentieth century, a researcher at the State Nikitsky Botanical Garden, Gennady Danilovich Yaroslavtsev, decided to conduct an extraordinary experiment - to check how the North American sequoia dendron would take root in the mountainous Crimea. To do this, he took planting material from the botanical garden and in 1964 planted it on the slope of Chatyr-Dag Mountain at an altitude of about 850 meters above sea level. The experiment was unique, because before that in the Soviet Union, no one had conducted such a thing.
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Sevastopol Missile-Launching Spot as the Trigger of the Caribbean Crisis

The fast development of the new type of weapons, the ballistic and wing-borne missiles, allowed the Soviet Union to gain control over the entire Black Sea coast. This fact did not escape the attention of the U.S. intelligence community. The facilities complex near Balaklava had particularly caught the experts’ eye as a likely place to launch missiles. A now declassified CIA document dated April 29, 1957, and created on the basis of the Balaklava seaside intelligence photos presents an in-depth analysis of the missile-launching spot and the supporting infrastructure.
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The Chora of Chersonesos. A Unique Outlook on the Ancient Civilisation

Sevastopol’s predecessor Chersonesos that had existed from the times of the Classic Greece (5th century B.C.) until the end of the Byzantine epoch (15th century A.D.) is a unique spot that allows one to see what the ancient civilisation looked like in reality and not on a textbook page. Traditionally, we view a colonial polis as a ground point directly tied to the metropolis. But actually, it was a system of settlements that we can define as a cell structure – the centre of the city was surrounded by a huge territory consisting of land parcels
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Film by Vladimir Mayakovsky about Jews in Crimea, 1927

Documentary "The Jews on the Land" was filmed in the USSR in the late 1920s.  It was part of a campaign against anti-Semitism. The film shows how the Jewish workers colonize the Black Sea area and Crimean lands. The film was made with the participation of notable avant-garde figures Viktor Shklovsky, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Lilia Brik, who were committed to the project of Jewish emancipation
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