The "Taraktash" Trail
starts from the most popular Crimean plateau "Ai-Petri" (St. Peter). You can get to the famous Ai-Petri cliffs (1234 m above sea level) by cable-car, car or minibus. The
mountain road is twisty but very beautiful.
You can see the coastline and Yalta far below. Near the cliffs there are 3 beautiful caves equipped for tourists, many cafes with Crimean Tatar quisine, eastern souvenirs etc. And wild plateau with beautiful trees and flowers.
The trail goes through the pine-tree forest. The Taraktash trail ends at the
"Uchan-Su" waterfall, the highest one in the Crimea.
of this excursion begins from Yalta bus station,
then we will drive along the wide Yalta-Sevastopol highway, which streams Yalta on the north-west, then we will turn to the mountain
road, the group will visit the peak, then descent to the Southern coast by the
aerial ropeway and return to Yalta
beginning of the excursion there is Yalta bus
station, the beautiful four-stored building which was designed by the project
branch of "Souzproekt” company (architect- G.V. Chahava). The ensemble includes
Derekoyka river, a bridge over it, a spacious square, underground crossing to
the trolleybuses and the interchange. Along it we leave the town and drive to
the aim of our journey – peak of Ay-Petri mountain.
sea on the left. Each sea on the Earth has its own color which depends on salt
content and on the weather. Maximum depth of the Black sea
is 2212 m.
The name wasn’t given by chance to this sea: when storms are frequent, sea
surface becomes dark, almost black.
By the way,
this name appeared in times of Ottoman Empire
domination (XV – XVIII). Before it was called the Russian sea. It was in time
period when trade ways were made here by merchants of the Kiev Rus. And in more
ancient times, in antique, it was called Pont Evksinos, which means "hospitable
sea” from Greek language. There is information that before it was called Pont
Aksinos, "inhospitable sea”.
the Black sea arouses pleasant feelings and
memories, and we don’t think about the meaning of its name. We return to its
welcoming shores where swimming season starts in May and ends in October. The
end of September is considered the best season for rest. The air warms up to
+23º – +28º and water temperature reaches +20. Beaches become deserted. People who
prefer quite rest come to Crimea just in this period which has been called
"velvety” since tsarist Russia.
In autumn the true resort season began – velvet or grapes season when rich
public was gathered in Yalta.
The beginning of the season was in the end of August and the beginning of
September and its duration was 2,5 months. The grape season in Yalta came into fashion in some kind of
entire Southern coast, to the right from the highway, there is a high mountain
ridge – the Main Ridge of Crimean Mountains. This relief forms the nice
climate. The Southern coast is protected from cold northern winds by Crimean
mountains. Coniferous and deciduous forest which covers the slopes of the Main
Ridge clean the air and saturate it with oxygen and volatile production – the
curative flying substances. The sea air also brings health. So, the main
generators of the curative climate of the Southern Crimea
are forest, mountains and the sea.
In front of
you above the woody hill a note is seen, like «HOLLYWOOD», - "ZOOLOGICAL
GARDEN”. In the distance on the slopes a waterfall is noticeable. To the right
the road goes to the private zoo "Yalta”
where many different animals live. The neighborhoods of the zoo are frequently
called Crimean Switzerland because of the likeness of landscapes.
is another crossroads where we turn to the Yalta-Bahchisarai road (Bahchisarai
is a former capital of Crimean Khanate).We continue driving along the Yalta-Bahchisarai road, on which we will
cover more than 20 km
to the Ay-Petri peak. This road was laid by Russian military and field engineer
companies from 1865 to 1878 years in very difficult conditions. Especially
difficult was the section before the plateau between the 17-th and 22-nd
kilometers where the slope abruptness reaches 60º - 80º.
road was laid only from Yalta
till the Ychan-Su waterfall (1872), then it was continued in the mountains. The
leader of the project was engineer-colonel S.I. Shishko who solved the main
problem of construction by carving the road into abrupt slope. In honour of the
end of unusually difficult and responsible work emperor Alexander II who
carried the construction commanded to call the "distinctive rock on Ay-Petri
plateau in honour of Shishko”. In subsequent years the road was continued on
the plateau and the Northern slopes and foothills to Bahchisarai. The
construction ended under the emperor Alexander III in 1894. Since that time the
road hasn’t been changed much, it was only widened and asphalted.
S.I. Shishko constructed the first urban water supply in Yalta, he is also the author and builder of
the lower road to Nikita botanical garden.
Now we will
make our first stop near Uchan-Su waterfall. It is full-flowing in spring and
after the rains, and in summer there is almost no water. It is one of the
highest in Europe (98 m). It is twice higher than
Niagara. In cold winters the waterfall freezes
and turns into one big icicle which hangs down from the ledge to its bottom. In
80-th years of the past century the alpinist ("Fantik”, Yu. Lishaev) firstly
ascended the frozen waterfall. He noticed that it consists of many separate ice
tube filled with water. Such construction is unsafe and can fall any moment.
waterfall makes river with same name which runs through forest and vineyards
and flows into the sea near "Oreanda” hotel.
interesting fact: in June 1949
a mud-flow on Uchan-Su river carried out to sea more
than 1.5 million square meters of ground per day. It made a coastal split with
area more than a hectare. Then it was washed out by the sea.
Uchan-Su means "Flying water” from Turkic, the Greeks called it
"Kremasto-Nero”, what means "black water”.
middle of the waterfall, between the cascades there is a water intake (a small
box with a sculpture of eagle). Water comes by a wide pipe to the Mogabi
waterfall there is a separate rock with the remains of defensive wall on its
western slope. It was one of the medieval fortresses (isars).
driving on the slopes of Mogabi mountain in the pine-tree forest. The forest of
oak, beech, pine-tree occupy almost 95% of the nature reserve. Only separate
glades and areas on the plateau are forestless. The flora includes 1100 species
of plants, 90 of them are endemics. Here you can also meet giant trees. They
are oak, gew, alder, pine-tree, basswood. Crimea
has more than 800 giant trees with circle more than 3 m.
forest reserve live such animals as deer, roe deer, mountain fox, badger, and
other mammals (39 species). Here were acclimatized moufflon from Corsica island, squirrel from Altai, boar from the
To the left
you can see the "Forester’s mushroom”. Next you can notice a section of
landslide which bended the pine-tree trunks. In 1964 this part of forest and
the Uchan-Su waterfall were declared as nature monument of local
right you can see a row of big gews and a former house of road keeper. This
place is called Pendikul because the rock with this name is nearby.
Soon we will
see a sign "Silver pavilion” which is located on the Pendikul rock (altitude 865 m).It was made in honour of builders of this
The air in
pine-tree forests is fragrant because of flying substances- volatile production
which exterminates the pathogenic bacteria. The curative effect of walking in
the pine-tree forest was used by a famous Russian doctor Sergey Petrovich
Botkin for treatment. He ordered to build a summer palace for the empress Maria
Alexandrovna, the wife of the emperor Alexander II.
such treatment is called "torrenkur” – measured walking, climate therapy while
walking along the mountain paths.
Russian emperors traveled along this road: emperor Alexander II, emperor
Alexander III and Nikolay II.
Ay-Petri? It is hard to answer this question shortly. Somebody tells about the
beauty of the sunrise. Alpinists and climbers, tourists and excursionists,
speleologists and skiers will tell something different about this mountain.
a peak and large mountain massif with area of more than 300 square kilometers,
one of the mesas along the Southern Coast which form the Main Ridge of Crimean
mountains. Ay-Petri massif stretches from east to west on 25 km. The distance between
its southern edge and northern foothills is more than 13 km. But most of the
tourists remember only one of its peaks with exotic stone teeth which are
pushed to the South. It has become a symbol of the Southern coast.
altitude of this mountain is 1234
m. How old is it? As every area on Earth, this section
had many changes during 4,5 milliards of years. There were sea depths here
which changed by warm seas with coral reefs along the shores.
sometimes opposite, influenced the massif: inner (endogenous) and outside
(exogenous). First is the result of complicated physicochemical processes deep
in the Earth, resulting in slow sinking or rising of separate parts of the
earth's crust. Second is the result of the influence of climate and water on
geological history of the Mountainous Crimea and Ay-Petri as its part is known
from the end of Triassic period (about 200 million years ago) when the
territory of modern Crimea was covered with
water of ancient Thetis ocean which occupied most of the Earth (until the
Neogene period).In latitudinal
direction it went through the Southern skirt of Eurasia continent, region of
modern Mediterranean, to the extreme
North-West of Africa.
last 200 million years the part of land where now Ay-Petri is, many times rose
above the sea and dipped into the sea. The depth of dipping varied, and
depending on it silt or sand were deposited, and in future they formed
compacted clays or sandstone, or chalky silt, which formed limestones.
Sometimes, the earth was washed away, and a lot of stones were drift to the
basin. Cemented with sea deposition, it formed conglomerates.
of Ay-Petri peak differ from the main massif. There is a solid, firm limestone,
it has no layers. But somewhere there are interesting fossils – corals. The
peak is a big coral reef. Corals live in the sea on small depth, but the
thickness of the Ay-Petri massif is more than 600 m. It indicates that the
bottom of ancient sea slowly sank, and the corals were to build there
constructions to survive. Thousands of years passed and the period of rising
began, and the coral colony finished their survival. The teeth of Ay-Petri are
the result of eolation.The Mountainous
Crimea as we can see it nowadays was formed in short geological time period-
1.5-2 million years.
Ay-Petri plateau is around. You see a tourist base and a restaurant. On the
opposite side of the road there is an old building of weather station. It was
built in 1805 as a branch of Pulkovskaya observatory.
construction is a globe on the granite ground. It is so-called "Ay-Petri
meridian". Its geographical coordinates are exactly defined: 44°28' of northern
latitude and 34°05' longitude to the East of Greenwich.
right from the road there is a monument to the partisans of the Yalta order.
from the monument, on the Shishko rock, there is a sightseeing area named in
honour of the constructor of the road. Its altitude is 1182 m.
If you turn
back to the slope, in front you see the Ay-Petri plateau. The teeth are on your
left. On the north-east there is Bedene-Kur mountain.
from Shishko rock there is a small, made before the revolution, condensation
water spring. On the Ay-Petri plateau there are much destroyed walls. Such
walls were made in the beginning of XX century for snow keeping (the snow
wasn’t blown down from the plateau, it melted slowly and filled water
resources). First walls on the plateau appeared, according to historians, in
the medieval times for land dividing.
Ay-Petri plateau as well as all the rest is a region of classic karst. Water
destroys the rock, making holes and grottos. The biggest cave in this region is
from the rope road there is a cave equipped for tourists which is called "Three
Eyes” because of 3 holes-entrances. In winter a lot of snow accumulates here,
and because of low temperature ice preserves here even in summer.
receive evidence in the contrast of Ay-Petri climate, if you ascend from Yalta to the plateau, and
change hot sub Mediterranean climate to moderate cold, damp climate. The
average air temperature in Yalta is +13,1°, on Ay-Petri it is +5,9°,
temperature difference is in these points is about 7,2°. The average
temperature in July is 15,6°, maximum is much higher - 32°. Winter on the
plateau comes in the beginning of October, it ends in the beginning of May,
though these terms are relative. The coldest month is February, its average
temperature is —3,8°.
on the Ay-Petri plateau falls out as rain (40% from all the precipitation) and
snow (60%). Rains are frequent during the period from November till March. The
stable snow cover is from the middle of December till April. This period is
good for skiing. But sometimes snow can melt even in winter.
February and in several years March the avalanche danger is serious.
humidity in the mountains is higher than on the seacoast. Fogs are more
frequent on the plateau. The wind in the mountains is much stronger sometimes
it reaches 50 m
per second, and windy days are more frequent. The sunshine duration on Ay-Petri
is also high – 2325 hours per year (in Yalta-2250 hours).
Near the peak of Ay-Petri there is the largest old beech
and hornbeam forest on the Crimean plateau (its area is 614 hectares).
Near the border
of the plateau there is a pine-tree "aircraft”. Its age (about 300 years) and
interesting form of crown made it a separate monument of nature.
interest are several very old gews on the glade to the NE from Ay-Petri teeth.
The age of the oldest one is more than 1000 years. In past, gews were common
distributed in the mountains.
back by the ropeway "Miskhor- Ay-Petri” which is a unique construction and one
of the brightest places of interest in Crimea.
Its length is about 3 km,
and during 15 minutes we will descend from the altitude 1153 m to the seacoast.
was constructed in 1987 year. Its upper section which is 1670 m long has no support;
it is the longest section without support in Europe.
The angle of the cable is 45 º. Between the two sections of the ropeway there
is a station called "Pine-tree forest” on the altitude 395 m.
has 4 cabins, 2 on each section. It works as pendulum: two cabins move at the
same time to each other, meet in the middle of the section and pass in the
opposite directions. The cabin is about 1.5 t and contains up to 35 people.
lower station we can return to Yalta