Three places near / in Sevastopol with an exceptional view that can be visited in one day? Cape Fiolent, Balaklava and the ancient Chersonesus! Scroll down for many photos and (a) few words to describe them.
The morning I set off for yet another around-Sevastopol trip was pretty promising, there was plenty of sun and warm wind. But already while I was enjoying the view at cape Fiolent there came the clouds and a sort of a haze.
After enjoying the view from the observation platform with a monument to Pushkin (who once visited these shores), I came down a long-long stone staircase to the beach where I saw these layered volcanic rocks:
The popular Jasper beach was quite deserted although I managed to attract the attention of a guy from Tobolsk who was travelling alone just like me with the difference that he was staying at a sanatorium (he works shifts somewhere in the Far East).
It was almost drizzling with rain so there was the only thing to do – continue the journey. We climbed up the staircase to St George monastery, spotting this cat on our way. There’s a legend that in 9 century AD Greeks got in a nasty storm with their ship wrecking right there near cape Fiolent and since they survived they built a monastery.
The we parted our ways as I went to Balaklava (the center of the district where Fiolent is situated) and that guy headed somewhere else. By the time I got to Balaklava, it was raining and the wind was getting stronger.
I hope I’m not hurting anyone’s feelings but I really found Balaklava a very run-down sad and dirty town with dirty water and a general atmosphere of something dying.
The local decadence didn’t leave a good impression even on me.
Walking towards the cliff:
Wait, you said balaklava?! Yes, they say that the British invented this sort of mask now closely associated with terrorism right there in Crimea where they were experiencing quite a freezing time of the year 1854.
But Balaklava is also famous for this very harbour which boasts such a location and shape that it knows no storms (unlike Fiolent) and becomes almost invisible from the sea. There I saw dolphins!
And that’s why it was used as a secret submarine base up until 1993. The town was a closed one and the entire population was employed at the base – and obviously they were not at all involved in searching for the gold left by the White Army (which they say they originally did in the 1920s, for which they opened the first diving courses in Russia there), they were working for the defense of the Motherland.
The entrance to the base is to the left of the ruined tower on this photo:
There’s a museum now with no actual submarines – but I decided to skip it, recalling my sheer intolerance of closed space when we visited a submarine in Kaliningrad.
The tower is right above the town, guarding this water way into the harbour:
It was misty and rainy when I got to the Cembalo fortress, first trying to get to a place intriguingly called Kefalo-Vrisi (Head of the Source) but helplessly and rather dangerously slipping and sliding on these rocks.
But then I just couldn’t see anything around at all!
They say they tried to renovate the 14th century fortress in the 50s – since then there’s this other thingy left:
Some bits of Balaklava through the mist and clouds:
Balaklava might be a pretty ugly (I’m sorry!) place down at the ground, but then it just beats you when you climb up to the fortress!
Spot the bird:
Definitely Scotland! And yet it’s Crimea 🙂
Realizing there was nothing more to do in Balaklava (I just spotted an entire factory now occupied by some hard-core quests, as well as a ruined cinema with the ‘Segodnya‘ (On today) letters still visible), I left the town for the city. When I arrived back in Sevastopol and went to Chersonesus, it was raining non stop.
Right there in Sevastopol there is an ancient site of Chersonesus which is a must for all the tourists visiting the city. By this point I was already quite tired and also the wall of rain was a bit obstructing the view, so the time I spent there was pretty inconsiderable.
I’m sure the place has many legends to tell, with all those ancient stones, some of which might as well be there from when the Greeks established their colony there, in 6 century BC.
And yes, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Imagine that those who live on the opposite shore of the bay can see the ruins of an ancient Greek colony every day?
But as always I enjoyed the view towards the sea most of all:
Regardless of rain.
The sea is the best! And definitely not black at all 🙂
Love you too, poppies!
How to get there:
There’s bus #3 that goes to Fiolent from the TsUM bus stop in Sevastopol. If you get off at Fiolent bus stop, you will have to walk a bit to the shore but in this way you will gradually take in the view as you stroll towards the monastery (you can also get off at the terminus which is right next to the Monastery). From there you can hop on any bus that goes to the transport hub called ‘the 5th kilometer’, where you can ask the locals for bus #9 that will take you to Balaklava. On the way back you can take the same bus to the 5th km, then get on any that goes through TsUM stop where you will get off and walk towards Chersonesus. Sounds like changing transport a lot but in reality it’s not that complicated, nor is it far.
Crimea in May series:
This post goes to the Travel collection.