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Olexander 1. Tarianyk,
Minister of the Ministry of
Health Resorts and
Tourism of the Autonomous
Republic of Crimea

The Crimea has long been recognized as one of the European wonders of nature. Its climate combines features of moderate and subtropical areas. The peninsula has mountains, ancient volcanoes and plains, forests and the steppe, arid semidesert and a subtropical belt of luxuriant vegetation.
The Crimea gets a lot of sunshine, at least 2,500 hours a year. It has 50 saline lakes located in five areas. There are also many coastal salt lakes and marsh lands.
The Crimea is known for its many resorts which are situated in areas of excellent climatic conditions. Some resorts have medicinal muds and mineral waters. There are over 100 mineral springs with chloride, calcic- sodic, radonic, thermal chloride-sodic and other kinds of waters.
The spa of Saki provides hydrocarbonate-chloride-sodic waters; the resort of Feodosiya offers sulphatic-chloride-sodic waters; in the area of Melas one can take sulphate-hydrocarbonate-chloride-sodic waters.The Kerch peninsula is rich in sulphidic waters; there are sulphate-chloride-calcic-sodic, carbonate, iodobromide and hydrocarbonate-chloride-sodic waters with a high content of sulphureted hydrogen. Herbs, mineral waters, salubrious air, muds and other substances with medicinal properties have been known from time immemorial.They have been used for treatment of various diseases for centuries. There are over 3,000 places in the Crimea which offer rest and health-improvement facilities. 54% of them are situated at the southern coast; 18% of them —in the central area of the Crimea; 10% - in the northern and in eastern parts of the Peninsula; the remaining 8% are in the western part of the Crimea.

There are 17 museums (with 26 branches) in the Crimea, among them historical, popular science, art, literature and other kinds of museums, over 10, 000 historical, architectural and religious landmarks. The Peninsula has 6 national parks and natural preserves. Out of 850 caves of all sizes and man-made shafts, about 50 caves have been selected as suitable for tourism. At present, everything necessary has been done in the two big caves of Chervona and Marmurova to provide safety and convenience for visiting tourists.

There is a lot that the Crimea can offer for promotion of foreign tourism. Today, the Crimea provides one third of all the tourist services provided in Ukraine. Most of the tourists come, naturally, from Ukraine, with Russian tourists following close behind; there are many tourists coming from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Germany, Turkey, Poland, USA, Belgium.

The Crimea has both the facilities and conditions for developing all kinds of tourism which include, in addition to the traditional kinds, the following: speleology; mountain climbing; horse riding; bicycle riding; hang-gliding; wine tasting; hunting; sight-seeing in helicopters; yachting; Individual and group tours can combine various tourist activities and can be provided with many optional services. Tourists can choose types of accommodation and transportation they want to be provided with from a long list of options.Recent years have seen a considerable increase in the number of religious pilgrims coming to the Crimea. The Crimean and Simferopol Orthodox Eparchies in cooperation with the Ministry of Resorts and Tourism have worked out routes of one-day tours to all the recently renovated churches and monasteries in and in the vicinities of, Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta.

The Crimean population is made up of people of more than one hundred ethnic origins and therefore ethnic tourism has all the grounds for being promoted. Special tours have been worked out for German, Bulgarian, Greek, Crimean Tartar, Czech tourists who wish to see the land where their ancestors used to live; these tours include visits to all the most important architectural, historical and religious landmarks of the Crimea

"Green tourism," that is visits to the agrarian areas of the Crimea, is a promising and rather new kind of tourist activity worth promoting. "Green tourism" is conducive to the development of small businesses; it provides good opportunities for what is called "active rest," allows one to enjoy the wild nature more fully. The Crimea has both the necessary natural conditions and man-made facilities to develop "green tourism" - picturesque mountains, vast rolling plains, forests, lakes, lagoons, unique flora and fauna, preserves, historical and ethnic landmarks.

Tourism in the Crimea allows to combine pleasure and edification. The Nikitsky Botanical Gardens has a wide collection of many species of plants; tasting of exotic fruit is one of the options provided for additional pay during a tourist visit to the Gardens. The Magarach Institute of Grapes and Wines has developed tours during which tourists can learn many things about history of wine making while visiting the Institute's wine labs; naturally, wine-tasting is a regular feature of these tours. At the Institute of Biology of Southern Seas one can see hundreds of species of fish, among them many exotic ones, and other sea animals in a huge aquarium. Dolphinariums in Sevastopol, Feodosiya and Yalta attract a lot of tourists. There are sightseeing tours organized to the Crimean Astrophysics Observatory and the National Space Control and Test Centre. Tourists always find both places extremely interesting.

Today, the biggest tourist operators in the Crimea are: the Joint-stock KRYM-TOUR Company which operates 32 facilities (hotels, camps, sightseeing bureaux) which are to be found in all parts of the Crimean Peninsula; Joint-stock YALTA-INTOURIST Hotel Complex Company; the OREANDA-TAVRIDA Hotel; both YALTA-INTOURIST and OREANDA-TAVRIDA have conference halls which have been used as the venue of many conferences on tourism. At present, the international TACIS Programme is being implemented in the Crimea. Its aim is to create a Tourism Development Centre.

The Crimean Association of Tourist Agencies was created in the Crimea in 1997 and today it has more than 120 members.

Among them one finds Oreanda Hotel; Yalta-Intourist Hotel; Yalta Hotel; Yard Hotel; the United Commercial Bank; Petrospek Company; Skifia Tourist Agency; Bosfor-Krym Tourist Agency; Yunona Tourist Agency; Krym-Zevs Air Company; Terra-Tavrika newspaper; the Crimean College of Economics and Management; the Chernomorsky Historical and Local Lore Museum. The Association has been created for the purpose of promoting Ukrainian tourist products.

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Novy Svet Place, Karaul-Oba.

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St.George Monastery at the Fiolent Promontory.
44_1.jpg (243507 bytes) It was in the nineteenth century that curative properties of the Crimean climatic and natural conditions began to be realized. At first, several places (Alupka, Gurzuf, Livadia, Massandra) on the southern coast started to be built up with palaces and mansions for Russian tsars, their families and aristocracy.
In late nineteenth - early twentieth century the Crimean southern coast became a fashionable place to visit by the upper classes but it was only in the twenties of this century that a definite turn was taken to combine rest and recreation with medical treatment (mostly heart and lung diseases).
Today there are over 600 health-improvement and rest facilities in the Crimea, with about thirty percent of them situated on the southern coast and in the east in and around the town of Evpato-ria. Evpatoria is a centre specializing in providing rest and treatment facilities for children. Practically all the rest and health-improvement facilities in the Crimea are to be found within a short distance from the sea. 517 kilometres of beaches make the sea easily accessible to all those who come to the Crimea to rest and improve health. Some of the health-improvement facilities (locally called "sanatoria") specialize in treatment of specific diseases (respiratory, gynaecological, TB, cardiovascular, etc.) but a majority of them provide treatment of many diseases.
The main curative factor though in the Crimea is a unique combination of mountain air, evergreen vegetation and the sea. In spite of the economic crisis gripping the country, millions of people continue to come to the Crimea for rest and medical treatment. The Crimean government has turned to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine with a number of proposals aimed at promoting tourism, recreation and medical treatment in the Crimea. Among the measures to be taken is introduction of considerable discounts on railroad and air tickets for children and families with low incomes who have purchased vouchers for medical treatment and rest in the Crimea; reduction of prices for these vouchers. Recently renovated hotels provide a decent level of services and renovation of hotels continues.

Photos by V.Bylychov, O.Kadnikov

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The Golden Gate Rock in Karah-dag.

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