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Kara Dag Natural Park (Feodosiya)

24 Nauki St., the village of Kurortnoye, Feodosiya, tel.: (+38 06562) 2-62-12, 3-83-31, 3-84-70.

Map

The Kara Dag Natural Park is considered to be an invaluable gem of the Ukrainian natural-protected reserves. Its unique and extreme landscapes were the best place to make such films as "Pirates of the 20th Century" and "Amphibian Man". The famous poet and painter Maximilian Voloshin, who lived and worked in Koktebel, depicted the poetic beauty and greatness of nature of the surrounding mountains in his poems and paintings. Marina Tsvetaeva also poetically described the local landscapes.

Kara Dag (translates as Black Mountain) is a rock massif of 575 m (1,886.48 ft) in height above sea level and situated near Koktebel. Kara Dag is an ancient volcano being active about 150 million years ago.

The Kara Dag Natural Reserve is situated at the east side of the Crimean coast. It was created to preserve the ancient volcanic landscape and very rare plants and animals.

The Park is about 2,874 ha (7,101.81 ac) in area and 809 ha (1,999.8 ac) is the share of one kilometre-long (0.62 miles) strand, the water area. In order to provide the necessary protection in the upland adjacent to the Reserve, a special buffer zone has been made where the medieval settlement of Tepsen (the plateau from the side of Koktebel) is situated.

A century old scientific centre is located here. Its history began in 1901, when the private-docent of Moscow University, the neurologist Terenty Vyazemsky bought a small neglected estate in Karagach-Kaburga Area of Feodosiya District and built here a scientific biological station.

In August of 1979, one of the most important departments of the biostation, the Kara Dag Natural Park, was established. The mission of the Park is to preserve and study the primeval flora and fauna of this very interesting and unique reserve in the whole Europe that has kept its primordial image after millions of years. Today the Park is not a department of the biostation but the biostation is a department of the Kara Dag Natural Park of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences as it is now officially referred to.

The richest flora of Kara Dag numbers about 3000 plants including 50 endemic species (it means they grow in the Crimea only). Fauna has 28 species of mammals, 184 species of birds, 13 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 1900 species of invertebrates. The offshore strip has very interesting flora and fauna.

Twenty nine species of the Kara Dag flora are listed as endangered species of Europe and 19 species are registered in the International Red Data Book.

There are still places in the Reserve where you can meet ancient Mediterranean species of animal kingdom, the relicts of the Jurassic period, for example, soil mites.

Many rare birds hibernate in Kara Dag. They are hen harrier, black vulture, and bustard. Pond heron, serpent eagle, imperial eagle, a very rare black stork and Egyptian vulture are also met during the migration periods.

One of the biggest colonies of bats is registered in the Park. It is represented with Geoffroy's Bat, the endangered species of Ukraine, protected under the Berne and Bonn Conventions.

Near the Kara Dag coast we regularly meet three kinds of dolphins registered in the Ukrainian Red Data Book. They are Common Bottlenose Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise, and the endemic of Black Sea Short-beaked Dolphin.

But the main remarkable sight is Kara Dag Massif, the fantastic production of Nature formed in a result of volcanic processes and rock weathering.

A plain of monotonous and sunbaked Crimean steppe is to the north of the Reserve, however, a formidable nature and tender delight of the sea is to the south. You will remember the coast forever: cliff faces of up to 300 m (984.25 ft) in height, many of snug and sunny bays diving into the deep gorges (Srednevekovaya Bay (Medieval Bay) and Gyaur Bakh Gorge), the turquoise of transparent water that gently waves and washes golden sand and polished up pebble stones. The Kara Dag volcanoes is an outdoor geological museum, the unique collection of precious minerals such as Cambay stone, agate, chalcedony, and about 30 kinds of jasper. You can find the same in the Ural Ilmen State Reserve only.

Vine grows in the mountain slopes of the north-east skirts of Kara Dag. The grape is used in production of the famous Ukrainian brandy that is prepared from herbs according to the ancient formulas and kept in oak casks underground of Koktebel. The brandy has taken up the inner energy of Mesozoic volcanoes, shine of sunbeams and storm of sea waves.

During the whole season the Reserve researches guide tours in the land part of the Reserve along two ecological paths.

The first path that is called the Greater Kara Dag and 7 km (4.35 miles) long begins at the biostation, passes through the entire area of the mountain massif and ends in Koktebel.

The second path leads from Koktebel to Graviynaya Bay.

Fantastic panoramas of sea cliffs and rocks are opened up from the viewing points: Ivan-razboynik (Ivan the Bandit), Slon (Elephant), Lev (Lion), Mayak (Lighthouse) and Zolotye Vorota (Golden Gates), the symbol of Kara Dag that is an assemblage of rocks of the Koba-Tepe Ridge, also Sphinx Rock or Devil's Finger, and the highest peak of Kara Dag, Mount Svyataya (Saint) of 577 m or 1,893.04 ft in height. The Kara Dag coast has many bays such as Serdolikovaya (Carnelian), Putsolanovaya (Pozzolana), Pogranichnaya (Borderline), and grottoes such as Shaitan (Devil), Revushchy (Roaring), Mishinaya Shchel (Mouse Crack). Visiting of the Park is charged.

The dolphinarium with educated dolphins and fur seals, a real small water circus, becomes more and more popular every year. Also you can visit an aquarium, museum of exotic animals, gallery of pictures donated by artists working in Kara Dag and leaving a good memory behind.

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Kara Dag Natural Park

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