Thursday, July 17, 2008

Crimea: Resort Which Takes You Back to Soviet Union

During the last weekend me and Dasha decided to take a short (4-day) vacation. Our friends have apartment in Gaspra (Гаспра), on the southern coast of Crimea, so we took this opportunity to have a small rest.

These are the views from the windows of this flat, on 9th floor of 12-storey building.

First thing I saw from the kitchen window was this nice "penthouse", on the rooftop of old Soviet concrete apartment block:

It actually represents, quite symbolically, the present state of peninsula. Crimea has very rich history, splendid nature and awful service and tourist infrastructure. Nevertheless, the nature is great, and the view of the famous Ai-Petri mountain is gorgeous (again, from the flat window):

In order to get to the beach, one would have to walk through the Yasnaya Polyana sanatorium and take the cable car to the beach. It costs 10 UAH per ride (1.5 EUR). The center of this sanatorium is old house, where Leo Tolstoy used to stay:

And this is the view of the cable car - from the top platform:

Passing by the second car (which goes up from the beach):

Don't forget to wave hands to your fellow "recreationists"

The ride takes 4 minutes. Approaching the lower platform:

And, eventually, you are on the beach! Now you can enjoy the 5 to 10-meter wide stone beach, full of housewives and small children:

Weather was not very nice at first, and water was very cold (17 Celsius).

But it was getting better during next days!

The painted sign says "Do not litter!"

It is also possible to climb the hill back by foot. If you are late to the cable car (which closes at 19.25), you have no other choice. While you climb up, you can notice the out-of-order smaller cable car, which could possibly bring you half-way up the hill. The form of the gondola reminded me of Star Wars, for unknown reason:

It is also possible to spot other interesting things as you walk up, like this door:

The words say: "No smoking! A wonderful land, delight for eyes!" The first day ended with beatiful sunset in Crimean mountains:

Next day we decided to go to the aquapark located nearby, next to the town of Simeiz. It is famous of its nude beaches and gay bars. No pictures of aquapark, sorry. But in the Blue Lagoon, where it's located, there is an old scientific station, which is now abanodoned and will soon fall into the sea:

On our way back home we spotted a splendid bus station:

A nice sign of canteen (the words say "FOOD" and "CANTEEN"):

A nice example of fine modern Crimean architecture:

Next day we went to visit Livadia palace. It is famous for being the summer residence of the last Russian monarch, Nicholas II, and also as a venue hosting the Yalta conference of 1945.

And of course, we spent rest of the time on beach, frying up.

Exploring nearby piers:

Feeding cat in the restaurant:

On the last day, we spotted a very arrogant seagull:

First she pretended she just stopped by:

"How are you doing? Nice to meet you"

And then, all of a sudden, she stole some food in plastic bag from one of the girls, and ran away!

That was the end of this 4-day holiday. We packed our bags and went to the airport in Simferopol. On our way, taxi stopped at the fuel station and we observed the picturesque view of the Bear Mountain:

And eventually, boarded the brand new WizzAir (the first and yet only low-cost airline in Ukraine) airplane.

Which also was kind of funny inside:


jorge said...

What a massive comeback!

About Livadia Palace, "livadia" would mean meadows, in greek language. Do you see any possible connection there?

I was also amazed by the photo of Churchil, Stalin and the rest of the gang. If they are still alive at Livadia Palace, then where the f@ck is Elvis?

Andriy said...

About the meadows - that's exatcly were the name came from. you know, Crimea has a lot of greek references. Your ancestors were the first civilized colonizers of the peninsula.

And I also think Elvis went away to take a shit.

Χ.Ζ. said...

The house on top of the concrete appartment block reminds me the highest states of greek architecture as well.

I think also that the housewife foto with the small children
is very good and maybe...sweet.
Very "humanic".

Some other cultural connection is
maybe the name Ai-Petri. In Greek the word saint is called "Agios" or sometimes "Ai".


Andriy said...

Thanx for the comments! Yes, internet sources indicate that Ai Petri is indeed named after St. Peter.

mmabs said...

looks like such a cool place. sunny and bright....

Andriy said...

well Mmabs, it is. But as I mentioned, infrastructure is kind of soviet :)
and they are still destroying the place with constructions slowly...

waiting for you first posts - about winter in africa :)

Junior said...

I love these pictures! I am from the UK and planning to visit the Black Sea this summer, I would like to see some soviet era resorts and things like that. Can you recommend some places?

Andriy said...

Hello Junior! I think the whole Crimea is kind of monument to soviet-era resorts :) but I would recommend going to Yalta, staying at Intourist hotel ( (which is the biggest in Ukraine btw) - I believe that was the highest reach of soviet chic. Miskhor area has also plenty of soviet sanatoriums and things like that. You might be interested going to Sevastopol as well, and visit abandoned underground submarine factory in Balaklava. said...

Crimea is a magic piece of the world really worth to visit, but hotels are rather expensive there. If you need a cheap accommodation in Crimea, it is better to rent an apartment. I gathered some contacts of Crimea apartments in Ukraine Travel Guide  to facilitate people’s search of Crimean apartments. If you know other good accommodation, you can submit it to the directory and make Ukraine tourism more comfortable and safe.