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Crimea ( ) or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea ( ; , Avtonomnaja Respublika Krym; , Qırım, Qırım Muhtar Cumhuriyeti) is the only autonomous republic of Ukrainemarker. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Seamarker, occupying a peninsula of the same name.

The territory of Crimea was conquered and controlled many times throughout its history. The Cimmerians, Greek, Persians, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Khazars, the state of Kievan Rus', Byzantine Greeks, Kipchaks, Tatars, Kalmyks and the Mongols all controlled Crimea in its early history. In the 13th century, it was partly controlled by the Venetiansmarker and by the Genovese; they were followed by the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire in the 15th to 18th centuries, the Russian Empiremarker in the 18th to 20th centuries, the Russian SFSR and later the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Unionmarker in the rest of the 20th century, Germanymarker in World War II, and now Crimea is an autonomous Ukrainianmarker administrative region.

Crimea is a parliamentary republic which is governed by the Constitution of Crimea in accordance with the laws of Ukraine. The capital and administrative seat of the republic's government is the city of Simferopolmarker, located in the center of the peninsula. Crimea's area is and its population was 1,973,185 as of 2007.

Crimean Tatars, an ethnic minority who now make up about 13% of the population, occupied Crimea since the Mongol conquest. The Crimean Tatars were forcibly expelled to Central Asia by Joseph Stalin's government. After the fall of the Soviet Union, some Crimean Tatars began returning to the region.

Etymology of the name

The name Crimea comes from the name of a city, Qırım (today's Stary Krymmarker), which served as a capital of the Crimean province of the Golden Horde. The word Qırım is believed by most researchers to derive from archaic Turkic "moat". However, there are other versions of the etymology of Qırım (like f. ex. qır – hill, -ım – my in modern Crimean Tatar). Russian Krym is a Russified form of Qırım. The ancient Greeks called Crimea Tauris (later Taurica), after its inhabitants, the Tauri. The Greek historian Herodotus mentions that Heracles plowed the land that became Crimea using a huge ox ("Taurus"): the name of the land thus asserts that its people named their land, and hence themselves, after an ox used by a mythical Greek figure.

In English, Crimea is sometimes referred to with the definite article, as the Crimea, as in the Netherlandsmarker, the Gambiamarker, etc. However, usage without the article has become more common in journalism since the years of the Soviet Unionmarker.

History

Early history

The earliest inhabitants of whom we have any authentic traces were the Cimmerians, who were expelled by the Scythians during the seventh century BC. The remaining Cimmerians, those who took refuge in the mountains later, became known as the Tauri. According to other historians, the Tauri were known for their savage rituals and piracy and were also the earliest indigenous peoples of the peninsula. In the fifth century BC, Greek colonists began to settle along the Black Seamarker coast; among them were the Dorians from Heracleamarker who founded a sea port of Chersonesosmarker outside Sevastopolmarker and the Ionians from Miletusmarker who landed at Feodosiyamarker and Panticapaeum (also called Bosporusmarker).



Two centuries later (438 BC), the Archon (ruler) of the latter settlers assumed the title of the Kings of Cimmerian Bosporus, a state that maintained close relations with Athensmarker, supplying the city with wheat, honey and other commodities. The last of that line of kings, Paerisades V, being hard-pressed by the Scythians, put himself under the protection of Mithridates VI, the king of Pontus, in 114 BC. After the death of this sovereign, his son, Pharnaces II, was invested by Pompey with the kingdom of Bosporusmarker in 63 BC as a reward for the assistance rendered to the Romans in their war against his father. In 15 BC, it was once again restored to the king of Pontus, but then was ranked as a tributary state of Romemarker.

Throughout the later centuries, Crimea was invaded or occupied successively by the Goths (AD 250), the Huns (376), the Bulgars (fourth–eighth century), the Khazars (eighth century), the state of Kievan Rus' (tenth–eleventh centuries), the Byzantine Empire (1016), the Kipchaks (the Kumans) (1050), and the Mongols (1237).

In the mid-tenth century, the eastern area of Crimea was conquered by Prince Sviatoslav I of Kiev and became part of the Kievan Rus' principality of Tmutarakan. In 988, Prince Vladimir I of Kiev also captured the Byzantine town of Chersonesmarker (presently part of Sevastopol) where he later converted to Christianity. An impressive Russian Orthodox cathedral marks the location of this historic event.

In the 13th century, the Republic of Genoa seized the settlements which their rivals, the Venetiansmarker, had built along the Crimean coast and established themselves at Cembalomarker, Soldaiamarker, Chercomarker and Caffa, gaining control of the Crimean economy and of Black Sea commerce for two centuries.



Crimean Khanate: 1441–1783

A number of Turkic peoples, now collectively known as the Crimean Tatars, have been inhabiting the peninsula since the early Middle Ages. The ethnicity of the Crimean Tatars is quite complex as it absorbed both nomadic Turkic and European components (in the first place, the Goths and the Genoesemarker) which is still reflected in their appearance and language differences. A small enclave of the Karaims, possibly of Khazar (i.e. Turkic) descent but members of a Jewish sect, was founded in the 8th century. It existed among the Muslim Crimean Tatars, primarily in the mountainous Çufut Qalemarker area.

After the destruction of the Golden Horde by Timur in 1441, the Crimean Tatars founded an independent Crimean Khanate under Hacı I Giray, a descendant of Genghis Khan. He and his successors reigned first at Qırq Yermarker, and from the beginning of the 15th century, at Bakhchisaraymarker.

The Crimean Tatars controlled the steppes that stretched from the Kuban and to the Dniester Rivermarker, however, they were unable to take control over commercial Genoesemarker towns. After the Crimean Tatars asked for help from the Ottomans, an Ottoman invasion of the Genoese towns led by Gedik Ahmed Pasha in 1475 brought Kaffamarker and the other trading towns under their control.

After the capture of Genoese towns, the Ottoman Sultan held Meñli I Giray captive, later releasing him in return for accepting Ottoman sovereignty above the Crimean Khans and allowing them rule as tributary princes of the Ottoman Empire. However, the Crimean Khans still had a large amount of autonomy from the Ottoman Empire, particularly, followed the rules they thought were best for them: Crimean Tatars introduced raids into Ukrainian lands, which were used to get slaves to be sold on markets.

In 1553–1554, Cossack Hetman Dmytro Vyshnevetsky gathered together groups of Cossacks, and constructed a fort designed to obstruct Tatar raids into Ukraine. With this action, he founded the Zaporozhian Sich, with which he would launch a series of attacks on the Crimea peninsula and the Ottoman Turks. In 1774, The Crimean Khans fell under Russian influence with the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca. In 1783, the entire Crimea was annexed by the Russian Empiremarker.

Russian Empire and Civil War: 1783–1922



The Crimean War (1853–1856) devastated much of the economic and social infrastructure of Crimea. The Crimean Tatars had to flee from their homeland en masse, forced by the conditions created by the war, persecution and land expropriations. Those who survived the trip, famine and disease, resettled in Dobruja, Anatoliamarker, and other parts of the Ottoman Empire. Finally, the Russian government decided to stop the process, as the agriculture began to suffer due to the unattended fertile farmland.

During the Russian Civil War, Crimea was a stronghold of the anti-Bolshevik White Army, including the Crimean People's Republicmarker. It was in Crimea that the White Russians led by General Wrangel made their last stand against Nestor Makhno and the Red Army in 1920. After the resistance was crushed, many of the anti-Communist fighters and civilians had to board the ships and escape to Istanbulmarker.

Soviet Union: 1922–1991

On October 18, 1921, the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was created as part of the Russian SFSR. However, this did not protect the Crimean Tatars, who constituted about 25 percent of the Crimean population, from Joseph Stalin's repressions of the 1930s.

The Greeks were another cultural group that suffered. Their lands were lost during the process of collectivisation, in which farmers were not compensated with wages. Schools which taught Greek were closed, and printed matter containing Greek literature was destroyed, because the Soviets considered the Greeks as "counter-revolutionary" with their links to capitalist state Greecemarker, and their independent culture.

During World War II, Crimea was a scene of some of the bloodiest battles. The leaders of the Third Reich were anxious to conquer and colonize the fertile and beautiful peninsula as part of their policy of resettling the Germans in Eastern Europe at the expense of the Slavs (Generalplan Ost). The Germans suffered heavy casualties in the summer of 1941 as they tried to advance through the narrow Isthmus of Perekop linking Crimea to the Soviet mainland. Once the German army broke through (Operation Trappenjagd), they occupied most of Crimea, with the exception of the city of Sevastopolmarker, which was later awarded the honorary title of Hero City after the war.



Sevastopol held out from October 1941 until July 4, 1942, when the Germans finally captured the city. From September 1, 1942, the peninsula was administered as the Generalbezirk Krim (general district of Crimea) und Teilbezirk (and sub-district) Taurien by the Nazi Generalkommissar Alfred Eduard Frauenfeld (1898–1977), under the authority of the three consecutive Reichskommissare for the entire Ukraine. In spite of heavy-handed tactics by the Nazis and the assistance of the Romanian and Italian troops, the Crimean mountains remained an unconquered stronghold of the native resistance (the partisans) until the day when the peninsula was freed from the occupying force.

In 1944, Sevastopol came under the control of troops from the Soviet Unionmarker. The so-called "City of Russian Glory" once known for its beautiful architecture was entirely destroyed and had to be rebuilt stone by stone. Due to its enormous historical and symbolic meaning for the Russians, it became a priority for Stalin and the Soviet government to have it restored to its former glory within the shortest time possible.

On May 18, 1944, the entire population of the Crimean Tatars were forcibly deported in the "Sürgün" (Turkish word for "exile") to Central Asia by Stalin's Sovietmarker government as a form of collective punishment on the grounds that they had collaborated with the Nazi occupation forces. An estimated 46 percent of the deportees died from hunger and disease. On June 26 of the same year the Armenian, Bulgar and Greek populations were also deported to Central Asia. By the end of summer 1944, the ethnic cleansing of Crimea was complete. In 1967, the Crimean Tatars were rehabilitated, but they were banned from legally returning to their homeland until the last days of the Soviet Unionmarker.

The Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was abolished in June 30, 1945, and transformed into the Crimean Oblastmarker (province) of the Russian SFSR. On February 5, 1954 the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Council requested the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine. On February 19, 1954, the oblast was transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR. According to the decree by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, the transfer was caused by close (1) geographic, (2) economic, and (3) cultural ties to the Ukrainian SSR. The transfer was also conducted to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Pereyaslav Treaty 1654. On April 26, 1954 the decree was confirmed by a law unanimously passed in the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union.

In post-war years, Crimea thrived as a prime tourist destination, built up with new attractions and sanatoriums for tourists. Tourists came from all around the Soviet Union and neighbouring countries, particularly from the German Democratic Republicmarker. Also, Crimea's infrastructure and manufacturing developed, particularly around the sea ports at Kerchmarker and Sevastopolmarker and in the oblast's landlocked capital, Simferopolmarker. Populations of Ukrainians and Russians alike doubled, with more than 1.6 million Russians and 626,000 Ukrainians living on the peninsula by 1989.

On September 10, 1990 the Oblast Council of the People's Deputies adopted the statement to annul the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union of June 30, 1945 and the corresponding laws of the Russian SFSR in regards to the administrative changes that changed the Republic into Oblast. In November 1990 in Kievmarker Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk signed the Russian-Ukrainian Treaty which commits the two sides to respect each others territory. On January 20, 1991 the All-Crimean was held in Crimea with 81% participants involved. Out of those 93.3% voted for the restoration of the Crimean Autonomous SSR in Soviet Union. On February 12, 1991 the Verkhovna Radamarker recognized the referendum and adopted a law that restored the status of the autonomous republic within the borders of Ukrainian SSR and the city of Sevastopol was granted special government status in the Soviet Unionmarker. In the Ukrainian referendum on independence on December 1, 1991, 54.19 percent of residents from Crimea and 57.07 percent from Sevastopol city voted in favour of Ukrainian independence.

Autonomy within independent Ukraine



With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Crimea became part of the newly independent Ukraine, a situation largely unexpected by its population. This led to tensions between Russia and Ukraine. With the Black Sea Fleet based on the peninsula, worries of armed skirmishes were occasionally raised. In August 1991 Yuriy Meshkov established the Republican Movement of Crimea and was registered on November 19.

On September 2, 1991 the National Movement of Crimean Tatars appealed to the V Extraordinary Congress of People's Deputies in Russia demanding the program how to return the deported Tatar population back to Crimea. Based on the resolution of the Verkhovna Radamarker (the Crimean parliament) on February 26, 1992, the Crimean ASSR was renamed the Republic of Crimea. Crimea proclaimed self-government on May 5, 1992, and on the next day passed the first Crimean constitution.

On May 19, Crimea agreed to remain as part of Ukraine and annulled their proclamation of self-government. By June 30, Crimean Communists forced the Kievmarker government to expand on the already extensive autonomous status of Crimea. In the same period, Russian president Boris Yeltsin and Ukraine's Leonid Kravchuk agreed to divide the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet between Russia and the newly formed Ukrainian Navy. On October 24 Meshkov re-registered his movement as the Republican Party of Crimea - Party of the Republican Movement of Crimea. On December 11, 1992 the President of Ukraine called the attempt of "the Russian deputies to charge the Russian parliament with a task to define the status of Sevastopolmarker as an imperial disease". On December 17, 1992 was created the office of the Ukrainian presidential representative in Crimea which caused wave of protests a month later. Among the protesters that created the unsanctioned rally were the Sevastopol branches of the National Salvation Front, the Russian Popular Assembly, and the All-Crimean Movement of the Voters for the Republic of Crimea. The protest was held in Sevastopol on January 10 at Nakhimov Square.

On January 15, 1993 Kravchuk and Yeltsin in the meeting in Moscow appointed Eduard Baltin as the commander of the Black Sea Fleet. At the same time the Union of the Ukrainian Naval Officers protested the Russian intervention into the Ukrainian internal affairs. Soon after that there were more anti-Ukrainian protests led by the Meshkov's party, the Voters for the Crimean Republic, Yedinstvo, and the Union of Communists that demanded to turn Sevastopolmarker under the Russian jurisdiction and followed by the interview given by the Sevastopol's Communist, Vasyl Parkhomenko, who said that the city's Communists request to recognize the Russian as the state language and restoration of the Soviet Unionmarker. On March 19, 1993 the Crimean deputy and the member of the National Salvation Front, Alexander Kruglov, threatened the members of the Crimean Ukrainian Congress not allow into the building of the Republican Council. Couple of days after that Russiamarker established an information center in Sevastopolmarker. In April 1993 the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense submitted an appeal to Verkhovna Radamarker to suspend the Yalta Agreement 1992 that divided the Black Sea Fleet that was followed by the request from the Ukrainian Republican Party to recognize the Fleet either fully Ukrainian or a fleet of a foreign country in Ukraine. Also over 300 Russian legislators called the planned Congress of Ukrainian Residents a political provocation.

On April 14, 1993 the Presidium of the Crimean parliament called upon the creation of the presidential post of the Crimean Republic. A week later the Russian deputy, Valentin Agafonov, stated that Russia is ready to supervise the referendum on Crimean independence and include the republic as a separate entity into CIS. On July 28, 1993 one of the leader's of the Russian Society of Crimea, Viktor Prusakov, stated that his organization is ready for an armed mutiny and establishment of the Russian administration in Sevastopol. In September Eduard Baltin accused Ukraine in converting some of his fleet and an armed assault on his personnel and threatened to take the countermeasures by placing fleet on alert.

On October 14, 1993, the Crimean parliament established the post of President of Crimea and agreed on the quota of the Crimean Tatars representation in the Council to 14. The head of the Russian People's Council in Sevastopol, Alexander Kruglov, called it excessive. The chairman of the Tatar Mejlis, Mustafa Cemiloglu (Djemilev), used words categorically against in regards to the proposed election for Crimean president on January 16. He stated that there cannot be two presidents in a single state. On November 6, the Crimean Tatar leader, Yuriy Osmanov was murdered. Series of terrorist actions rocked the peninsula in the winter among them were the arson of the Mejlis apartment, the shooting of a Ukrainian official, several hooligan attacks on Meshkov, the bomb explosion in the house of a local parliamentary, the assassination attempt on a Communist presidential candidate, and others. On January 2, 1994 Mejlis announced a boycott of the presidential elections, which were later canceled. The boycott itself was later taken over by other Crimean Tatar organizations. On January 11, Mejlis announced their representative, Mykola Bahrov, the speaker of the Crimean parliament, as the presidential candidate. On January 12, some other candidates accused Bahrov of severe methods of agitation. At the same time Vladimir Zhirinovsky called on the people of Crimea to vote for the Russian Sergei Shuvainikov.

On January 30, 1994, the pro-Russianmarker Yuriy Meshkov was elected to the new post but quickly ran into conflicts with parliament. On September 8, the Crimean parliament degraded the President's powers from the head of state to the head of the executive power only, to which Meshkov responded by disbanding parliament and announcing his control over Crimea four days later. Amendments to the constitution eased the conflict , but on March 17, 1995, the parliament of Ukrainemarker intervened, scrapping the Crimean Constitution and removing Meshkov along with his office for his actions against the state and promoting integration with Russiamarker. After a interim constitution lasting from April 4, 1996, to December 23, 1998, the currently existing constitution was put into effect, changing the territory's name to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

Following the ratification of the May 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership on friendship and division of the Black Sea Fleet, international tensions slowly eased off. With the treaty, Moscowmarker recognized Ukraine's borders and territorial integrity, and accepted Ukraine's sovereignty over Crimea and Sevastopol. In a separate agreement, Russia was to receive 80 percent of the Black Sea Fleet and use of the military facilities in Sevastopol on a 20-year lease.

However, other controversies between Ukraine and Russia still remain, including the ownership of a lighthouse on Cape Sarychmarker. Because the Russian Navy controlled 77 geographical objects on the south Crimean Shore, the Sevastopolmarker Government Court ordered the vacating of the objects, which the Russian military did not carry out. Since August 3, 2005, the lighthouse has been controlled by the Russian Army. Through the years, there have been various attempts to return Cape Sarych to Ukrainian territory, all of which were unsuccessful.



In 2006, protests broke out on the peninsula after U.S. Marines arrived at the Crimean city of Feodosiyamarker to take part in the Sea Breeze 2006 Ukrainemarker-NATOmarker military exercise. Protesters greeted the marines with barricades and slogans bearing "Occupiers go home!" and a couple of days later, the Crimean parliamentmarker declared Crimea a "NATO-free territory." After several days of protest, the U.S. Marines withdrew from the peninsula.

In September 2008, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko accused Russia of giving out Russian passports to the population in the Crimea and described it as a "real problem" given Russia's declared policy of military intervention abroad to protect Russian citizens.

During a press conference in Moscowmarker on 16 February 2009, the Mayor of Sevastopolmarker Serhiy Kunitsyn claimed (citing recent polls) that the population of Crimea is opposed to the idea of becoming a part of Russiamarker.

Although western newspapers like the Wall Street Journal have speculated about a Russian coup in Sevastopol or another Crimean city in connection with the Russian-Georgian war and the Recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia. Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, acting head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), stated on February 17, 2009, that he is confident that any “Ossetianmarker scenario” is impossible in Crimea. The SBU had started criminal proceedings against the pro-Russian association "People's front Sevastopol-Crimea-Russia" in January 2009.

On the 55th anniversary of the transfer of Crimea transfer of the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR (on February 19, 2009) some 300 to 500 people took part in rallies to protest against the transfer.

On 24 August 2009, anti-Ukrainian demonstrations were held in Crimea by ethnic Russian residents. Sergei P. Tsekov said that he hoped that Russia would treat the Crimea the same way as it had treated South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Return of Crimean Tatars

Proportion of the population that is Crimean Tatar in various regions of Crimea.


Another area of conflict on the peninsula is land ownership. Since the Crimean Tatars were forcibly deported from their homeland by Stalin in May 1944, other people, particularly Russians, settled the peninsula and took control of the lands formerly belonging to the Crimean Tatars. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Crimean Tatars were allowed to return to Crimea, but conflict arose when they demanded the return of land seized after their deportation.

Government and politics



Crimea is a parliamentary republic that has no president. The legislative body is a 100-seat parliament, the Verkhovna Rada of Crimeamarker which is elected every five years since amendments to the Crimean Constitution in 2009.

The executive power is represented by the Council of Ministers, headed by a Prime Minister who is appointed and dismissed by the Verkhovna Rada, with the consent of the President of Ukraine. The authority and operation of the Verkhovna Rada and the Council of Ministers of Crimea are determined by the Constitution of Ukraine and other the laws of Ukraine, as well as by regular decisions carried out by the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea.

Justice is administered by courts that belong to the judicial system of Ukraine.

Elections and parties

While not an official body controlling Crimea, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People is a representative body of the Crimean Tatars, which could address grievances to the Ukrainian centralmarker government, the Crimean governmentmarker, and international bodies.

During the 2004 presidential elections, Crimea largely voted for the presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych. In both the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary elections and the 2007 Ukrainian parliamentary elections, the Yanukovych-led Party of Regions also won most of the votes from the region.

Following the Crimean parliamentary election, 2006, the following political parties are represented in the Verkhovna Rada bloc: "Za Yanukovycha!" (Party of Regions and the Russian Bloc): 32.55% (44 mandate); party "Soiuz": 7.63% (10 mandates); Kunytsyna Electoral Bloc: 7.63% (10 mandates); Communist Party of Ukraine: 6.55% (9 mandates); People's Movement of Ukraine: 6.26% (8 mandates); Yulia Tymoshenko Electoral Bloc: 6.03% (8 mandates); People's Opposition Bloc of Natalia Vitrenko: 4.97% (7 mandates); Opposition Bloc "Ne Tak": 3.09% (4 mandates).

Crimea – United States relations

On 18 February 2009 the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea sent a letter to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukrainemarker and the President of Ukraine in which it stated that it deemed it inexpedient to open a representative office of the United Statesmarker in Crimea, and it urged the Ukrainian leadership to give up the idea. The letter is to be sent also to the Chairman of the UN General Assembly. The contents of letter were adopted as policy in a 77-to-9 roll-call vote with one abstention in the Crimean parliament.

Administrative divisions

Crimea is subdivided into 25 regions: 14 raions (districts) and 11 city municipalities, officially known as "territories governed by city councils". While the City of Sevastopolmarker is located on the Crimean peninsula, it is administratively separate from the rest of Crimea and is one of two special municipalities of Ukraine.

Raions

1. Bakhchisaray Raion
2. Bilohirsk Raion
3. Dzhankoy Raion
4. Kirovskiy Raion
5. Krasnohvardiyske Raion
6. Krasnoperekopsk Raion
7. Lenine Raion
8. Nizhnyohirskyi Raion
9. Pervomayske Raion
10. Rozdolne Raion
11. Saky Raion
12. Simferopol Raion
13. Sovetskyi Raion
14. Chornomorske Raion


City municipalities

15. Alushta municipality
16. Armyansk municipality
17. Dzhankoy municipality
18. Yevpatoria municipality
19. Kerch municipalitymarker
20. Krasnoperekopsk municipality
21. Saki municipalitymarker
22. Simferopol municipality
23. Sudak municipality
24. Feodosiya municipality
25. Yalta municipality
26. Sevastopol municipality


Major cities



Geography and Climate

Map of Crimea with major cities.


Crimea is located on the northern coast of the Black Seamarker and on the western coast of the Sea of Azovmarker, bordering Kherson Oblastmarker from the North. Although located in the southwestern part of the Crimean peninsula, the city of Sevastopolmarker has a special but separate municipality status within Ukrainemarker. Crimea's total land area is 26,100 km² (10,038 sq mi).

Crimea is connected to the mainland by the 5–7-kilometre (3–4 mi) wide Isthmus of Perekop. At the eastern tip is the Kerch Peninsulamarker, which is directly opposite the Taman Peninsulamarker on the Russian mainland. Between the Kerch and Taman peninsulas lies the 3–13-km (2–9 mi)-wide Strait of Kerchmarker, which connects the waters of the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov.

The Crimean coastline is broken by several bays and harbors. These harbors lie west of the Isthmus of Perekop by the Bay of Karkinit; on the southwest by the open Bay of Kalamita, with the ports of Eupatoriamarker and Sevastopolmarker; on the north by the Bay of Arabatmarker of the Isthmus of Yenikale or Kerchmarker; and on the south by the Bay of Caffa or Feodosiyamarker, with the port of Feodosiya.



The southeast coast is flanked at a distance of 8–12 km (5–8 mi) from the sea by a parallel range of mountains, the Crimean Mountainsmarker. These mountains are backed by secondary parallel ranges. Seventy-five percent of the remaining area of Crimea consists of semi-arid prairie lands, a southward continuation of the Pontic steppes, which slope gently to the northwest from the foot of the Crimean Mountains. The main range of these mountains shoots up with extraordinary abruptness from the deep floor of the Black Seamarker to an altitude of 600–750 metres (2,000–2,500 ft), beginning at the southwest point of the peninsula, called Cape Fiolente. At one time it was believed that this cape was crowned with the temple of Artemis, where Iphigeneia is said to have officiated as priestess.Uchan-sumarker waterfall on the south slope of the mountains is the highest in Ukraine.



Numerous kurgans, or burial mounds, of the ancient Scythians are scattered across the Crimean steppes.

The terrain that lies beyond the sheltering Crimean Mountain range is of an altogether different character. Here, the narrow strip of coast and the slopes of the mountains are smothered with greenery. This "riviera" stretches along the southeast coast from Cape Sarychmarker, in the extreme south, to Feodosiya, and is studded with summer sea-bathing resorts such as Alupkamarker, Yaltamarker, Gurzufmarker, Alushtamarker, Sudakmarker, and Feodosiyamarker. During the years of Sovietmarker rule, the resorts and dachas of this coast served as the prime perquisites of the politically loyal. In addition, vineyards and fruit orchards are located in the region. Fishing, mining, and the production of essential oils are also important. Numerous Crimean Tatar villages, mosques, monasteries, and palaces of the Russian imperial family and nobles are found here, as well as picturesque ancient Greek and medieval castles.

Most of Crimea has a temperate continental climate, except for the south coast where it experiences a humid subtropical climate, due to warm influences from the Black Sea. Summers can be hot ( Jul average), and winters are cool ( Jan average) in the interior; on the south coast winters are milder ( Jan average), and temperatures much below freezing are exceptional. Precipitation in the interior is low with only a year. On the south coast precipitation is more than double that, with Yalta annually receiving about . Because of its climate, the southern Crimean coast is a popular beach and sun resort for Ukrainian and Russian tourists.

Places of interest



Economy

The main branches of the Crimean economy are tourism and agriculture. Industrial plants are situated for the most part in the northern regions of the republic. Important industrial cities include Dzhankoymarker, housing a major railway connection, and Krasnoperekopskmarker, among others.

The most important industries in Crimea include food production, chemical fields, mechanical engineering and metal working, and fuel production industries. Sixty percent of the industry market belongs to food production. There are a total of 291 large industrial enterprises and 1002 small business enterprises.

The main branches of vegetation production in the region include cereals, vegetable-growing, gardening, and wine-making, particularly in the Yaltamarker and Massandramarker regions. Other agricultural forms include cattle breeding, poultry keeping, and sheep breeding. Other products produced on the Crimea Peninsula include salt, porphyry, limestone, and ironstone (found around Kerchmarker).

The number of tourists visiting Crimea dropped by 12.7% (to 4.8 million people) in 2009 compared to 2008. A total of 261 sanatoriums and other tourist institutions are operating in Crimea as of October 2, 2009 (274 in 2008), and they were 46.1% full (50.9% in 2008).

Transport

Almost every settlement in Crimea is connected with another settlement with bus lines. Crimea contains the longest (96 km or 59 mi) trolleybus route in the world, stretching from Simferopol to Yalta. The trolleybus line starts in near Simferopol's Railway Stationmarker through the mountains to Alushtamarker and on to Yaltamarker.

The cities of Yalta, Feodosiyamarker, Kerchmarker, Sevastopolmarker, Chornomorske, and Yevpatoriamarker are connected to one another by sea routes. In the cities of Yevpatoria and nearby townlet Molochnoye are tram systems. Railroad lines running through Crimea include Armyanskmarker—Kerch (with a link to Feodosiya), and Melitopolmarker—Sevastopol (with a link to Yevpatoria), connecting Crimea to the Ukrainian mainland.

Demographics



As of 2005, the total population of Crimea is 1,994,300.

From 1989 to 2001, Crimea's population declined by 396,795 people, representing 16.33% of the 1989 population, despite the return of displaced groups such as Crimean Tatars. From 2001–2005 the population declined by another 39,400 people, representing a decline from 2001 of another 2%.

According to 2001 Ukrainian Census, the population of Crimea was 2,033,700. The ethnic makeup was comprised the following self-reported groups: Russians: 58.32%; Ukrainians: 24.32%; Crimean Tatars: 12.1%; Belarusians: 1.44%; Tatars: 0.54%; Armenians: 0.43%; Jews: 0.22%; and Italians: 0.015%.

Other minorities are Black Sea Germans, Roma people, Bulgarians, Poles, Azerbaijanis, Koreans and Greeks. The number of Crimea Germans was 45,000 in 1941. In 1944, 70,000 Greeks from the Crimea were deported toCentral Asia and Siberia, along with 200,000 Crimean Tatars and other nationalities.

Language

Ukrainian language is the single official state language countrywide, and is the sole language of government in Ukraine. In Crimea government business is still carried out mainly in Russian. Attempts to expand the usage of Ukrainian in education and government affairs has been less successful in Crimea than in other areas of the nation.
Another language widely spoken is Crimean Tatar. According to the census mentioned, 77% of Crimean inhabitants named Russian as their native language; 11.4% – Crimean Tatar; and 10.1% – Ukrainian.


Migration

Currently 2/3 of the migrants into Crimea are from other regions of Ukraine, every 5th is from the former Soviet Union and every 40th from outside of the former Soviet Union. 3/4 of those leaving Crimea move to other areas in Ukraine. Every 20th migrates to the West.   

Trends

The population of the Crimean peninsula has been consistently falling at a rate of 0.4% per year. This is particularly apparent in both the Russian and Ukrainian ethnic populations, whose growth rate has been falling at the rate of 0.6% and 0.12% annually respectively. In comparison, the overall growth rate of the ethnic Crimean Tatar population has been growing at the rate of 0.9% per annum.

The growing trend in the Crimean Tatar population has been explained by the continual Crimean Tatar repatriation (mainly from Uzbekistanmarker), the high birth rate amongst the resettlers, and the low death rate as few senior citizens have resettled back into their ancestral home.

Culture

Sport

Crimea figures prominently in Ukrainian sports, especially the most popular: Association football. The most successful Crimean football club is Tavriya Simferopol in the Ukrainian Premier League, and it possesses one championship title. In the Ukrainian First League Crimea is represented by FC Feniks-Illychovets Kalinine, FC Ihroservice Simferopol, FC Krymteplitsia Molodizhne, PFC Sevastopol. In the Second League Crimea has the club FC Tytan Armyansk.

Crimea is represented within Ukrainian Bandy and Rink-bandy Federation.

See also



Footnotes and references



External links




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