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Mertvaya bay
Lis’ya bay

No Karadag no Kurortnoye. And your holiday will be not full without travelling around Karadag. But the extinct volcano is not available for individual tourists-this is National Nature Reserve. It is prohibited hunting, fishing, tree felling, picking up of stones, flowers, berries, fruits and herbs at Karadag and the adjoining bays.

Thus, not all holidaymakers will be able to make a trip to Karadag. But if you will be proposed to participate in an organized excursion with permission from the reserve administration, don’t refuse.

Usually the trip starts from the mouth of the Otuz Valley, from the pension “Krymskoe primor’e (the Crimean seaside)”. There you can drive by the regular bus via Shchebetovka. You can sail from Planerskoe by boat. And then you can look from the sea at the famous Serdolic bay (Cornelian bay), the Colden Gate, Ivan the Robber Rock.

But also you can get by foot to Karadag from Planerskoe. Go there early in the morning, when the air is spring, transparent and loud. And the most important is not hot yet and easy to go.

The path to Karadag rises directly from the beach. And from the village you need to go along Pobeda (Victory) Street, leading to the sea. At the end of the street you should turn to the right, up a dirt road. It leads you to Tepsen, not high, round plateau on the plan (“tepse” – a dish, in Turkic). Exactly here, on Tepsen, it was situated a big medieval settlement, which name is unknown. At the beginning of this century there were seen the remains of destroyed buildings. Now a part of the settlement is blocked by the streets of Pobeda and Aivazovskiy.

The settlement was founded at the turn of the VII—VIII centuries. To this period belong the remains of houses, and also a large cemetery in the north-western part of the settlement. The settlement on Tepsen became one of the most significant in the south-eastern part of the Crimea in the VIII—Õ centuries. In essence, it was the town already; its area reached 20 hectares. Here people lived in big stone houses with glazed windows. And the glass produced there, on Tepsen. It was sat jewelry and iron and steel production; iron was smelted from ores of Kerch. Among the finds were Byzantine and Arabic coins, pithoi, amphorae, and molds for metal products.  

The inhabitants of the settlement were Christians in the VIII century. The remains of Christian temples are indicated on it. Certainly through some period of time this town would become famous and rich, if it wasn’t destroyed by Pechenegs at the beginning of the Õ century.

 Again Tepsen revived in XIII—XIV centuries. The coastal, the port part of the town became the most important. K. Paustovskiy wrote in his story “The Black Sea” about Karadag: “For the hundredth time I regretted that I had not been born as an artist. There was necessary to reproduce this geological poem in colors. For the thousandth time I felt the lethargy of human speech. There were neither words nor comparisons to describe the power of craters, the breath of the sea, join into their abysses, screaming eagles and thousands of the least caressing things –splashes of water, clear streams, sunbeams and the tenderest of algae and jellyfish, imparting a sign of simplicity and safety to the majestic landscape.

  Reserved Karadag stretches for several kilometers from the south-east to the south-west – from the Koktebel Valley to the Otuz Valley.

Geology and history of Karadag are unusual and interesting. It saves a lot of secrets, which scientists try to solve for many decades. For the first time Karadag was “noticed” at the end of the XVIII century. Researches of the Crimea P.S. Pallas and K.I. Tablitz wrote about it. At the end of the last century geologists A.E. Lagorio and N.P. Prozorovskiy-Golitzin visited it. They made a conclusion that Svyataya (Saint) Mountain and the surrounding it Coastal Range are the volcanic cone and walls of craters (something reminiscent of Vesuvius). Other researchers consider that Svyataya (Saint) and the Coastal range, consisting of different rocks, can’t be parts of one volcano.

The entire mountain group Karadag occupies a small area – nearly 20 square kilometers. Volcanic rocks are concentrated in two places – on Svyataya (Saint) Mountain (Big Karadag) and on the coastal upland, stretched from Planerskoe to the Biological Station. The relief of the Coastal range is not the similar in different places. Conditionally it is ruled to divide it into four parts: Kok-Kaya, Magnetic range, Hoba-Tepe and Karagach.

There are multicolored agates, rock crystal, lemon citrine, light-violet amethyst, carnelian, and chalcedonies in veins of Karadag. From other precious stones it can be called differently colored Jaspers, motley, in spots, heliotrope. 

The Crimean gems attracted from time immemorial not only mineralogist, but and also enterprising jewelers. Koktebel colored pebbles were widely used at Peterhof Lapidary Factory a hundred years ago, where there were produced a material for mosaics. It is also known that it was mined 50 poods of chalcedony on Karadag in 1916. And a little bit earlier, in 1887, based on sketches of an artist Kudryavtzev it had been made two tables from Koktebel precious stones in Peterhof…

Before a war an artel “The Crimean mirror maker” made some stone-cutting works, using the local precious stones (it was made souvenirs, brooches, and studs).

At the end of the last century the entire area of Karadag was covered with the dense forest. Now forests saved only in some places. Most of all there are oak, hornbeams, ash here, linden and maple occur. It also meets linden and maple. There are wild pear trees, apple trees- shamrock, dog rose, Cornelian cherry trees, hawthorn; it also meets mushrooms, especially champignons.

In spring the grass is up to waist on Karadag. Peonies, poppies and tulips are blossoming. Some of them can meet only in these places, for example, Koktebel white tulip. It also meets fraxinella nakedcolumellar. This beautiful plant with rose-lilac flowers is very poisonous. From touching of it hands cover with blisters and burns, and take it to the face is just dangerous.

Descended from Tepsen, pass through a ravine, and here from the left it raises an abrupt range of Kok-Kaya (“blue rock”). The next range is Magnetic. Here you cannot rely upon the compass data: it meets magnetic anomalies in some places. The strongest anomaly is in the area of Magnetic stone, near the northern tip of Magnetic Range. It was discovered by the engineer A. Spasokukotzkiy in 1921.

On the other end of Magnetic range it raises a rock-tower with a strange name Devil’s finger. It had struck the artist K.F. Bogaevskiy, and he created a magnificent canvas “Devil’s Finger”, and it is kept in funds of the Feodosiya Gallery.

Near Devil’s Finger starts a wild canyon Guyar-Bah (“a garden for unfaithful”), opening in Serdolic (Cornelian) Bay. We don’t advise you to walk down there, and generally you should go carefully along Karadag – don’t deviate from the path and especially don’t forget about shoes with leather sole. It happens here as rockslides as landslides. Please note: the local rocks are not so safety as it may seem at first. You must strictly follow your instructor.

And here is the South Pass already, a broad green saddle, whence comes a gentle rise to the Hoba-Tepe massif. It was here, according to many geologists, is a crater (or one of the craters) of the ancient Karadag. Because of crustal deformation, it is not situated vertically, as it should be for the crater of an active volcano, and slopped angularly of 45 °.

Hoba-Tepe means "mountain with caves”. Really there are many small caves and grottos here. And not far from the range it is settled some bizarre shapes of weathering. Here there are and horse-cake, and Falcon, and Pyramid.

        The next link of  the Coastal Range is Karagach. Some time there were solid thicket of elm, but they had long been cut down. The relief of Karagach is remarkably symmetrical. The nature needed all her ingenuity to throw the rocks in such a thoughtful disorder. At top of the range is a fantastic group: King, Queen, Suite and Thrones (there are two here). But look at these figures it is better not close, and went downstairs to the Bio Station. Its white buildings surrounded by trees are clearly visible from afar.

Now the Bio Station -is renowned scientific and research institution. Here are worked on the problem of biological productivity of seas and oceans (and the Black Sea primarily) in order to best use of their natural resources.

Here it is protectively kept the library of T.I. Vyazemskiy. The Monument for the scientist installed at the entrance to the main building.

        In the Karadag valley there is another scientific institution – The Actinometric Observatory (founded in 1932), where, in particular, is studied the effect of solar radiation on biological processes in the sea.

        From the Biological Station to the pension “Krymskoe Primor’e” (“The Crimean Seaside”) with its comfortable beaches is no more than 20 minutes to go.


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