Simferopol (English pronunciation: /ˌsɪmfəˈroʊpəl/; Ukrainian: Сімферополь; Russian: Симферополь; Greek: Συμφερόπολις, meaning city of common good; Crimean Tatar: Aqmescit, literally: The white mosque) is the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in southern Ukraine. As the capital of Crimea, Simferopol is an important political, economic, and transport center of the peninsula. As of 2006, the city's population is 340,600.
Archaeological evidence in Simferopol indicates the existence of an ancient Scythian city, collectively known as the Scythian Neapol. The location was also home to a Crimean Tatar town, Aqmescit. After the annexation of the Crimean Khanate to the Russian Empire, the city's name was changed to its present Simferopol.
Simferopol is known as the capital city of Crimea, the transport hub, the political and economic center of Crimea. It is also an exotic tourist spot. Located in the south-most middle of Crimea, this city is full of attractive destinations to make a perfect holiday. People also visit Simferopol for the study purpose as it has several universities of a high reputation: first of all, Tavrida National University and Crimean State Medical University.
Simferopol is situated on the banks of the Salgir River emerging from the Crimean Mountains. The Crimean Mountain range is easily accessible from Simferopol; thus, providing a fantastic opportunity for outdoor adventures - like mountaineering, hiking and trekking. One can find a number of good travel agencies that organize guided tours, trekking programs, excursions and sight-seeing in Simferopol.
Simferopol has a rich historical background. It was once a home to native Crimean Tartars who called this city as Aqmescit or AkMechet or "The White Mosque". The history of Simferopol even dates back to 3rd century BC when it was inhibited by Scythians. The Scythian Neapol, which is the ancient remnant of the Scythian reign, still exists in Simferopol and is a good option for sight-seeing. There are other places like Saint Troitsky Monastery, that are also worthy to watch.
The Crimean Mountain ranges near to Simferopol are known for its richness in the depth of flora. One can find a lot of pine, peach and oak trees in these ranges. Tourists love to trek on the forest pathways and get engrossed by the nature. There are also remnants of interesting ancient cave-dwellings dating back to Middle Ages of Europe, which were once inhabited by the Jews and other kinds of colonies. Magnup-Kale is such a cave city situated near Simferopol. The ancient dwellers used these caves for storage and military units or as tombs, prisons. Other interesting cave-dwellings found near Simferopol are Chufut-Kale and Eski-Kerman. Though it is officially banned, there are some people who stay in these caves for weeks, performing Yoga or Meditation. They claim that they get a mystical relaxation in these ancient cave-dwellings.
The largest city of Crimea, Simferopol is also the transport hub to various destinations within Ukraine as well as internationally. It has the only international airport in Crimea - Simferopol State International Airport. The time chart can be found in many websites. Simferopol has the biggest train station of Crimea. Every year millions of travelers go through Simferopol to the Crimean resorts and other travel locations of Crimea. It has also well-laid out road route to the southern coastal cities of Crimea. The train tickets are pretty cheap in Ukraine, costing around $20 for an overnight train. We bet you heard of Yalta, - the most well-known resort city of Crimea. Simferopol and Yalta are also known for the longest in Europe trolleybus line, which connects these two Crimean cities - Simferopol and Yalta. The whole route is laid amid the scenic locations of the Crimean Mountain range.
Simferopol has world class institutes and universities that teach a variety of subjects, including Russian language, medicine, agriculture and many others. Every year lots of students come to Simferopol for their studies, as Crimea and Ukraine have visa-free regime for US and EU citizens. Simferopol is also the economic and administrative center of Crimea, thus is crowded by all class of travelers all the year round.
Archaeological evidence in the Chokurcha cave shows the presence of ancient people living in the territory of modern Simferopol. The Scythian Neapol, known by its Greek name, is also located in the city, which are the remnants of an ancient capital of the Crimean Scythians who lived on the territory from the 3rd century BC to the 4th century AD.
Later, the Crimean Tatars founded the town of Aqmescit. The name Aqmescit literally translates as "the white mosque" (Aq—white, and mescit—mosque). For some time, Aqmescit served as the residence of the Qalğa-Sultan, the second important position in the Crimean Khanate after the Khan himself.
Russian Empire and Civil War
The city was renamed Simferopol in 1784 after the annexation of the Crimean Khanate to the Russian Empire by Catherine II of Russia. The name Simferopol is derived from the Greek, Συμφερόπολις (Sympheropolis), translated as "the city of usefulness. In 1802, Simferopol became the administrative center of the Taurida Governorate. During the Crimean War of 1854-1856, the Russian Imperial Army reserves and a hospital were stationed in the city. After the war, more than 30,000 Russian soldiers were buried in the city's vicinity.
In the 20th century, Simferopol was once again affected by wars and conflicts in the region. At the end of the Russian Civil War, the headquarters of General Pyotr Wrangel, leader of the anti-Bolshevik White Army, were located there. On November 13, 1920, the Red Army captured the city and on October 18, 1921, Simferopol became the capital of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
World War II
During World War II, Metropolitan was occupied by Nazi Germany from November 1, 1941 to April 13, 1944. Retreating NKVD police shot a number of prisoners on October 31, 1941 in the NKVD building and the city's prison. Germans perpetrated one of the largest war-time massacres in Simferopol, killing in total over 22,000 locals—mostly Russians, Jews, Krymchaks, and Gypsies. On one occasion, starting December 9, 1941, the Einsatzgruppen D under Otto Ohlendorf's command killed an estimated 14,300 Simferopol residents. The city was renamed as "Gotenburg" between 1941-1944.
In April 1944, the Red Army liberated Simferopol. On May 18, 1944, the Crimean Tatar population of the city along with the whole Crimean Tatar nation of Crimea was forcibly deported to Central Asia in a form of collective punishment. On April 26, 1954, Simferopol, together with the rest of the Crimean Oblast, was transferred from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
Simferopol's city center minor planet 2141 Simferopol discovered in 1970 by Soviet astronomer Tamara Mikhailovna Smirnova is named after the city.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Simferopol became the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within newly independent Ukraine. Today, the city has a population of 340,600 (2006) most of whom are ethnic Russians, with the rest being Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar minorities.
After the Crimean Tatars were allowed to return from exile in the 1990s, several new Crimean Tatar suburbs were constructed, as many more Tatars returned to the city compared to number of exiled in 1944. Land ownership between the current residents and returning Crimean Tatars is a major area of conflict today with the Tatars requesting the return of lands seized after their deportation
Politics and administrative divisions
As the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Simferopol houses its political structure including the Parliament and Council of Ministers. Simferopol is also the administrative center of the Simferopolskyi Raion (district), however, it is directly subordinate to the Crimean authorities rather than to the raion authorities housed in the city itself.
The city of Simferopol is administratively divided into three raions (Zaliznychnyi, Tsentralnyi, and Kyivskyi), four urban-type settlements (Ahrarne, Aeroflotskyi, Hriesivskyi, Komsomolske) and one village (Bitumne). The city's mayor is Henadiy Babenko, formerly from the Party of Regions but expelled from that party in September 2009.
Geography and climate
Simferopol is located in the south-central portion of the Crimean peninsula. The city lies on the Salhir River and near the artificial Simferopol Reservoir, which provides the city with clean drinking water.
The city experiences a humid subtropical climate near the boundary of the humid continental climate. The summers are very warm and humid, and the winters are cold and wet and often snowy. The average temperature in January is 3 °C (37 °F) and 26.3 °C (79.3 °F) in July. The average rainfall is 509 millimeters (20.0 in) per year, and there is a total of 2,569 hours of sunshine per year.
Simferopol has a main railway station, which serves millions of tourists each year. The city is also connected via the Simferopol International Airport, which was constructed in 1936.
The city also has several main bus stations, with routes towards many cities, including Sevastopol, Kerch, Yalta, and Yevpatoriya. The Crimean Trolleybus connects Simferopol to the city of Yalta on Crimean Black Sea coast. The line is the longest trolleybus line in the world with a total length of 86 kilometers (53 mi).
Main Attractions of Simferopol
Mramornaya Peshera (Marble cave) - Is a unique karst cave, it has been found out and explored in 1987 on northwest a slope of Chatyr-Dagг by the Simferopol cave explorers. Discovery of the cave unique in the sizes, riches and a variety of mineral adjournment became sensation among the scientific, speleological and tourist public. In 1997, for the purpose of improvement of excursion service or visitors full reconstruction of excursion routes of a cave Marble has been made. For today extent of excursion routes in the Marble cave Marble reaches more than 1, 5 km and covers one of the most entertainment galleries of the cave.
Naples Scythian - Is an archaeological reserve. The place for a city has been chosen rather successfully: the territory represents a triangle turned to the north, from the northeast natural protection is abruptly breaking Petrovsky rocks, in the west - a deep remote beam in the area of which breakage there was a defensive wall. As a result of archaeological researches the main gate of a city and a southern defensive wall presently are opened. Special interest is represented by the Scythian mausoleum and history of its excavation. From an outer side of a defensive wall ancient burial - a number of the funeral boxes, based one over another was found out. There was a deepening covered with a plate in a rock. There was a burial place of II century BC and so the tomb of the Scythian tsar Skilur has been found out. The mausoleum is a unique monument in Scythian settlements. Its location confirms once again value of Naples as economic and cultural centre of the late Scythian state, the capital of Small Scythia.
Angarskyi Pass - A pass in Crimea; it is the highest point of the rout Simferopol - Alushta (752 m above sea level).The Angarskyi Pass is a popular vacation place. On the mountainside of Chatyr-Dag mountain-skiing lines are located they operate during winter time. Near to Angarskyi pass on Chatyr-Dag there is a Beech grove - a popular tourist place. In the vicinities of Angarsk pass competitions on sports orientation take place.
On the Angarskyi Pass the post of traffic inspectors and a stop of trolley buses "Simferopol-Alushta" and "Simferopol-Yalta" are located. Near to pass there is a tourist centre with the same name “Angarskyi”.
Red caves or Qizil-Qoba - Is a system of several caves located in Crimean Mountains on spurs of Dolgorukovskaya yayla in 3 km from the village Perevalnoe (Angara) of the Simferopol area?
Qizil-Qoba is the greatest cave in Crimea. The general extent of its researched part makes about 21150 m, the area of 64000 m, volume of 270000 m, and difference of heights of 275 m. Extent of separate halls makes 70 - 80 m, height up to 145 m (the Hall of the Blue thaw). Average temperature of air of ground floors is about 8, 1 - 9, 0°С. There are several caves they form the complete underground labyrinth consisting of six floors; so, visiting of the Red cave is possible with guides only.
On the ground floor the underground river proceeds. In a cave it are a lot of lakes, falls, siphons.
Qizil-Qoba is known and as an archeology monument. In the tract about 2, 5 thousand years ago people lived. Scientists call them Q Z L-Qoba culture (possible descendants of Cimmerians).
Since 1989 in a cave the equipped excursion route operates with extent about 500 m.
Republican museum of local lore - One of the most interesting in Crimea. Its history goes back to the Museum of antiquities of the Taurian scientific archival commission (it was based in 1887) and the natural-historical museum of the Taurian zemstvo (it was based in 1899).In 1988 to a museum a new building on Gogol's street, 14 has been given where the museum is located today. Nowadays the Crimean republican museum of local lore has more than 100 thousand exhibits, among them the remarkable archaeological collection from Paleolithic epoch to the Middle Ages, numismatic collection, unique drawing of XVIII-XIX centuries with views of Crimea, personal archives of known researchers of the nature and history of peninsula of P.I.Keppen, A.H.Steven, A.L.Berte-Delagard, the richest funds of photos and documents. The museum stores interesting historical-household things, arts and crafts subjects, a porcelain collection and ethnographic materials.
Simferopol art museum - Began its history in 1922 when as a part of the Central museum of Taurida there was an art department. A collection of art department products made masterpieces from palaces, country houses and private residences of Southern coast of Crimea, which have arrived as a result of nationalization of 1918-1920.
The museum has 77 products are presented which have remained from a pre-war collection.
Collections of a present Simferopol art museum is very interesting, it has high art value. In the exposition beginning it is possible to see icons of the Moscow school, portraits painted by D.G.Levitsky, A.G.Venetsianov, V.A.Tropinin, I.K.Ayvazovsky landscapes. Creativity of artists-peredvizhniki is presented by works of N.A.Jaroshenko, I.E.Repin, N.N.Ge, and A.I.Kuindgy. In a constant exposition V.M.Vasnetsov, V.D.Polenov, M.A.Vrubel, V.M.Nesterov, A.N.Benua paintings are presented, L.S. Бакста, K.A.Korovin. A galaxy of brilliant names is continued by I.E.Grabar, K.S.Petrov-Vodkin, K.F.Juon, P.P.Konchalovsky, A.A.Dejneka and T.N. Jablonsky.
Special interest is caused by large monographic collections of artists, whose life and creativity are connected with Crimea: Ayvazovsky’s student E.J.Magdesjana, M.M.Kazasa, M.A.Voloshin, K.F.Bogaevsky, N.S.Samokisha, N.S.Barsamova. Modern Crimean painting and a drawing are fine works of S.G. Mamchin, F.Z.Zaharov, V.D.Bernadskiy, L.V.Labenko, E.A.Sizikov and many other talented painters.
Nowadays the Simferopol art museum has about 9 thousand works of art. Expositions of the Simferopol art museum are constantly updated.
Holm Slavi (the Glory hill) or Kolan-bair in Dolgorukovskaya Yayla, - Everything in this museum is connected with wars, guerrillas, shooting; however, getting here, you will feel only silence and pacification. War is far in the past, and all entrenchments, shell-holes, splinters of bombs and shells seem entertaining exhibits of a museum. In our peace time everywhere on yayla you will find a large quantity of monuments - monuments to the guerrillas who were at war here. The centre of the memorial certainly is - the Glory Hill.
Glory Hill has been made at the height of 887 m. the memorial is executed in the form of a five-pointed star. On all edge of the forest around the Glory Hill there are monuments and obelisks to the heroes-guerrillas who have died on fighting boundaries.
Near to the Glory Barrow the guerrilla source is located. In days of the war in these places guerrilla dugouts settled down and it is possible to see their traces now. Some of them are even restored. And over an input tablets hang.
Mountain range Chatyr-Dag (yayla and caves) - Is a nature sanctuary and reserve and a natural boundary of Crimea. Even ancient travelers paid attention to the original form of this mountain. It reminded them a table, and on ancient cards Chatyr-Dag was called Trapezus (trapezium). When you approach Simferopol from the north, from flat Crimea, or from Black sea approach Alushta, it seems as if the giant tent was stretched among mountains. It is an explanation of the Mountain range name - Chatyr-Dag, or the Tent-mountain.
The most known and often visited karstic cavities on plateau Chatyr-Daga are caves Suuk-Koba (Cold) and Binbash-Koba (Thousand heads). Cave Suuk-Koba represents a cavity in the form of a tunnel in length of 210 m. It has seven big halls to 20 m in height and width. Binbash-Koba is a little bit shorter - 110 m.
Cave Emine-Bair-Hosar - In 1994 by employees of the centre speleological tourism "Onyx-tour" there has been begun works on equipment for excursions. Underground galleries Baira are stretched on 1460 meters and fall on depth more than 120 meters. In 1995 the new hall which has been named after the known researcher of the underground world of V.N.Dubljanskiy has been found out. Unique paleontological finds have been made: bones of mammoths, a cave bear, a woolly rhinoceros. On the basis of these finds in a cave the paleontological mini-museum is created.
From the Main hall routes disperse. The left gallery leads in a hall Dubljanskiy, amazing because variety and color of leakages, but also the rare cave creation - two-level tiff lake. The right gallery, passing snow-white columns, leads in the Throne hall to leakages "the Monomove Cap" and "the Stone flower".
The top gallery of a cave begins at height of ten meters over a bottom of the Main hall. Having risen here on a ladder, we get to the Lake hall. The walls of a hall decorated tiff with a drapery are buried in emerald waters of underground lake. Its water is so transparent, that the bottom on depth of 6 meters is visible.
The hall of the Idols is one of the largest equipped cave halls of Europe. Grandiose walls are covered with snow-white tiff flowers and cascades multi-colored tiff leakages, rush down 20 meters “stone falls” from the ceiling. Tens stone "idols" (stalagmites of the various sizes) are piled up on all hall, giving to a cave fantastic magnificence.
From a hall of Idols, the excursion route through 28 meter artificial tunnel leads in a hall Dubljanskiy.The most beautiful, but also remote bottom galleries of the cave are natural mineralogical museum reserve.
Mosque Kebir-Dzhami - is a prominent architectural monument of Simferopol, the oldest building in the city.The inscription at the input of the Mosque testifies that the mosque has been constructed in 1508. It has been many times altered subsequently, and its shape has changed a lot. In the beginning of XVI century to the north of ruins of Naples-Scythian, on crossing of trading and strategic roads, there was a large city of the Crimean khanate, the Ak-mosque. In 1508 mosque Kebir-Dzhami has been consecrated. They suppose that the mosque whiteness has entitled a medieval city the Ak-mosque (the White Mosque). The ak-mosque was represented by large enough settlement, on medieval scales. The medieval Ak-mosque totaled about 10000 inhabitants, not including visitors. In the Ak-mosque the residence of the kalga-sultan - the second person of the Crimean khanate, after the khan settled down, some houses were two - and three-storied, the city had mosques, markets, hotels (khans), and was decorated by fountains.