Kara-Dag State Reserve
Kara-Dag State Reserve is a state reserve in Ukraine in south-eastern part of Crimea. The reserve occupies area of volcanic massif Kara-Dag. The main goals of its work are to study variety of biological life and to monitor land and water ecosystems.
Kara-Dag State Reserve is one of the youngest ones in Ukraine. Altogether, its history counts more than 80 years, and natural peculiarities of Kara-Dag massif have been studied for 200 years. Kara-Dag State Reserve unites unique rich landscapes and seascapes and the reserve represents an important area of great aesthetic, historical and scientific value.
Volcanic origins of Kara-Dag was first stated by A. Prozorovsky-Golitsyn in 1891, who considered that the area was a remnant of erosion-affected layered volcano. Later on the area was characterized as complex geological massif where volcanic activity left traces not only on land but at sea bed. Terentiy Vyazemsky contributed a lot into studies of this unique place. In 1901 he arrived to Crimea and bought a very neglected estate on eastern shores with only one single-storey house on Kara-Dag. Vyasemsky believed that wild natural beauty, remoteness and healthy climate would facilitate better results in work of biologists who couldn’t boast perfect health. Creation of a biological station in that area became the single purpose and sense of life for Vyasemsky. The years passed and Vyasemsky, looking critically at his current state of health, decided to hand over the station to the Society for facilitating success of science commanded by Christophor Ledentsov at Moscow State University.
In March 1914 this most generous gift was accepted with deepest gratitude. And Vyasemsky was assigned to be in charge of its management. And due to all this, by 1916, Kara-Dag had became one of the most geologically studied natural areas of Crimea. This relatively not big shoreline and sea area of the reserve had been affected by anthropogenic impact throughout the 20th century. Natural entities in ecological systems of the Black Sea were disrupted, and the Crimean Southern Coast experienced an intensive recreation impact.
Researches commenced since the first days of reserve operation has been conducted by the leading academic establishments of Ukraine. These researches were primarily aimed at conducting so called researches of inventory-checking kind and were connected with studying of Kara-Dag history.
Within 1976-1984 archeological researches had been conducted. These studies were primarily of prospecting character i.e. were limited to search for landmarks and making description of their appearance. Archeological exploration encompassed coastal area of 13.51 square miles located between villages of Solnechnaya Dolina (“Sunny Valley”) and Nanikovo and including mountain ridges of Kara-Dag and Echki-Dag. At this place, where plains, mountains and sea meet together, and where interests of various nations and tribes clashed and land and naval ways crossed.
Ancient and medieval naval vessels sailed by rocky cliffs of Kara-Dag, and there was a naval trade route joining Europe and Asia. In autumn 1472, Afanasiy Nikitin, a famous Russian traveler from Tver city, returned along Eastern Crimean coasts from his outstanding “Journey Beyond the Three Seas”.
This and many other events left deep traces in history of Kara-Dag.