Balaklava Harbour is a historical and landscape landmark of Crimea. This elongated, curved harbour of Balaklava is scarcely noted from sea is considered to be the best choice for yachting sports on all the Black Sea coasts.
Balaklava Harbour was inhabited since primeval times and since then it has been attracting people as place to live in. Tauri tribes, Greeks, Romans, the Genoese, the Turks lived here and almost every new settling nation gave their own name to the bay. The Greeks called it Yamboli or Symbolon, the Genoese referred to it as Cymbalon, Cembalo; the Turks named it Balaklava.
Balaklava Harbour is often compared with a bay described in the 10th song of Homer’s “Odyssey”.
This picturesque bay has an extremely narrow but navigation-friendly inlet and is completely surrounded by hills. Inlet to Balaklava Harbour is located between Cape Kuron (Battery Cape of Western Cape) and St.George Cape (Balaklava Cape or eastern shore). Ruins of Genoese fortress Cembalo are located on the eastern shore on a hillside of Mount Kastron (Fortress Mount).
The harbour is curved, picturesque and is hidden between hills that makes it concealed if observed from sea. Such closed location makes Balaklava Harbour fully protected against storms and winds. That is why it’s rightfully considered to be the best bay for yachting on the entire Black Sea.
Large high-tonnage vessels are rare in the bay, that makes navigation here rather safe. Balaklava Harbour was formed in such a way due to a tectonic fault which pierced into cliff massif. The depth of the fault is some 0.9 miles. The form of the harbour defined its Greek name of “Symbolon Limen”. The word “symbolon” has no utterly clear translation, although it is clear that it denotes some object cracked apart. Probably the hills at both sides of the bay inlet resembled the mythological Symplegades ready to clash together and detach again.
As it is remembered from the Greek mythology, Symplegades were the rocks that clashed accidentally and were deadly dangerous for vessels.
Most probably, that is why Balaklava Harbour was named the “Bay of Symbols”. Like another bay of Sevastopol – Omega Bay, which is shaped like that Greek letter.