I greet you, in spring crucified,

My magnificent Koktebel!

Maximilian Voloshin

Koktebel… It sounds French, but originally it is a combination of three Turkic words: «kok» — blue, «tepe» -top, «el» — settling, land. Koktebel – it’s the “blue-top-settling”-land. It’s the land of the blue mountain peaks…

Nobody knows the year when Koktebel came into being. It is well known there was a Middle Age settlement here in the VIII century. The valleys around the mount Kara-Dag had been settled since that time.

At the beginning of the 1st century the legendary Cimmerians lived here, in the Middle Ages — the descendants of Tauri, Scythians mixed with the Bosphor peoples — Greeks, Sarmatians and Alans. In the 10th century the settlement was ruined by Pechenegs, nevertheless, life came back here soon.

A Crimean-Tatar village came into being here and at the beginning of the XIX century the people who came from Bulgaria settled in Koktebel. The settling was connected with Feodosia by a dusty earth road.

Almost the all Koktebel valley belonged to the landlord Edward Yunge. He was an Academician-oculist and highly educated person. Edward Yunge and his wife Helen wanted to equip Koktebel with modern amenities: a water reservoir for watering the vineyards , a magnificent highway connecting Koktebel with Feodosia … But he had not enough money for the projects. The descendants of Yunge decided to act the other way — they sold out the land for those who would civilize Kaktebel, like good colonists.

One of the first persons who bought a plot in Koktebel was the mother of future poet and painter Maximilian Voloshin — Helen. She planted trees around the plot, having founded a future park. In due course Koktebel turned into a settlement of scientific and artistic intellectuals.

Koktebel is connected with life and creative activity of unusually original artist and poet Maximilian Voloshin (1878-1932).

In 1944 Koktebel got the name of Planerskoye (“Glider”) due to the first glider flights on the local mount. The two names co-exist parallel — one is official and another is poetic.

There is no Koktebel without Kara-Dag. But the extinct volcano is not opened for unorganized tourists because it is a state reserve. But if you take part in an organized excursion you will remember forever.

Kara-Dag is very beautiful. Konstantin Paustovsky in his story «The Black Sea» wrote about Kara-Dag: «It’s a pity that I am not an artist. One has to paint in colours this geological poem…»

Kara-Dag keeps many mysteries still nowadays . In its veins there are agates, rock crystal, amethyst, sard and chalcedony. Semi-precious stones are very popular among the jewellers.

in spring Kara-Dag is in blossom. There are peonies, poppies and tulips around. The white Koktebel tulip is met only here.

There is a very dangerous beautiful plant with pinky — violet flowers, which are very poisonous.

A touch to the flower provokes blisters and burns and take it to the face is extremely dangerous.

There is magnetic anomaly in Kara-Dag on the ridge Magnitny (“Magnetic”) and especially near the Magnetic Stone. It was discovered by an engineer A. Spasokukotsky in 1921.

On the other end of the Magnetic Ridge rises a rock-tower with a strange name “Devil’s Finger”.

In his time the painter Bogayevsky was struck by it and he panted a canvas «Devil’s Finger» which is now in the funds of the Feodosia Gallery.

Not far from Devil’s Finger there is a canyon Giaur-Bakh (“Garden of the Unfaithful”). This place is very dangerous and it is advisable not to descent there.

On the Southern pass where the ascent of the massive Khoba-Tepe (“Cave Top”) starts. It is believed that the volcano crater lies here. Because of the deformations it is not vertical and has got an inclination of 45 degrees. On Khoba-Tepe there are many caves and fantastical figures of weathering: Horse-Honey-cake, Falcon and Pyramid.

The next chain of the Coast Ridge is Karagach (“Black Tree”, “Elm-tree”). There were many thickets of karagach here but they were cut down many years ago.

The relief of Karagach is very asymmetrical. The nature needed all its inventiveness to throw about the rocks in such a well thought-out disorder. A fairy-tale group crowns the ridge: King, Queen, Suite and Thrones (two of them). It is better to look at these mountains from below having descended down to the bio-station.

The bio-station works on the problem of biological productivity of seas and oceans, first of all the research work at the Black Sea.

From the bio-station one can come back to Planerskoye by bus or by a pleasure boat. This short but fascinating trip will be retained in memory for a long time.

The Kara-Dag gully is wide. From here one can see the quiet cupola of the Sviataya (“Saint”) Mount. The legend says that on the top of the mount an «aziz’, Moslem saint, is buried.

There is a small bay that is called Razboynichya (“robber”) with a cliff Ivan-Pirate (Ivan-“robber”). It is impossible to see a ship in the bay from the see. The contrabandists took advantage of it.

The main attraction here is the Golden Gate or the Gate of Kara-Dag. It’s a natural stone arch of wonderful form and beauty. The Golden Gate struck the imagination of the young Pushkin, he remembered it and later drew it in the rough copy of the first chapter of «Eugene Onegin». Tatar-people named the Golden Gate as Sheitan-Kapu (“Devil Door”), and, may be, that’s why Pushkin drew a devil with imps dancing around him and a witch on the broom.

In the Bay Tikhaya (“Calm”) some films were short: «The Scarlet Sails», «Don Quixote», and «The nebula of Andromeda».

The land of Koktebel is multifacial and wonderful…




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