The Crimean Peninsula, also known simply as Crimea, is a major land mass on the northern coast of the Black Sea that is almost completely surrounded by water. The peninsula is located south of the Ukrainian region of Kherson and west of the Russian region of Kuban. It is surrounded by two seas: the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast. It is connected to Kherson by the Isthmus of Perekop and is separated from Kuban by the Strait of Kerch. The Arabat Spit is located to the northeast; a narrow strip of land that separates a system of lagoons named Sivash from the Sea of Azov.

Crimea—or the Tauric Peninsula, as it was formerly known—has historically been at the boundary between the classical world and the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Its southern fringe was colonised by the ancient Greeks, the ancient Persians, the ancient Romans, the Byzantine Empire, the Genoese and the Ottoman Empire, while at the same time its interior was occupied by a changing cast of invading steppe nomads, such as the Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, Goths, Alans, Bulgars, Huns, Khazars, Kipchaks, and the Golden Horde. Crimea and adjacent territories were united in the Crimean Khanate during the 15th to 18th century before falling to the Russian Empire and being included into the Russian Taurida Governorate in 1802.

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Crimea became a republic within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the USSR. In World War Two it was downgraded to the Crimean Oblast, and in 1954, the Crimean Oblast was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It became the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within newly independent Ukraine in 1991, with Sevastopol having its own administration, within Ukraine but outside of the Autonomous Republic. Sovereignty and control of the peninsula became the subject of an ongoing territorial dispute between Russia and Ukraine, with Russia signing a treaty of accession in March 2014 with the self-declared independent Republic of Crimea, absorbing it into the Russian Federation, though this is not recognised by Ukraine or most of the international community.


The classical name Tauris or Taurica is from the Greek Ταυρική, after the peninsula's Scytho-Cimmerian inhabitants, the Tauri. Strabo and Ptolemy refer to the Strait of Kerch as the Bosporus Cimmerius, and to Cimmerium as the capital of the Taurida, whence the peninsula, or its easternmost part, was also named Promontorium Cimmerium.

In English, the Crimean Khanate is referred to as Crim Tartary in the early modern period. The Italian form Crimea (and "Crimean peninsula") also becomes current during the 18th century, gradually replacing the classical name of Tauric peninsula in the course of the 19th century. The omission of the definite article in English ("Crimea" rather than "the Crimea") becomes common during the later 20th century.

The name "Crimea" ultimately, via Italian, takes its origin with the name of Qırım (today's Stary Krym) which served as a capital of the Crimean province of the Golden Horde. The name of the capital was extended to the entire peninsula at some point during Ottoman suzerainty. The origin of the name Qırım itself is uncertain. It is mostly explained as:

  1. a corruption of Cimmerium
  2. a derivation from the Greek Cremni (κρήμνοι kremnoi "cliffs", mentioned in Herodotus 4.20).
  3. a derivation from the Mongolian appellation kerm designating "wall", which, however, is phonetically incompatible with the original Mongolian literal appellation of the Crimean peninsula Qaram,
  4. a derivation from the Crimean Tatar Turkic appellation Qırım designating "fortress" or "fosse", from the Turkic term qurum ("defence, protection"), qurimaq ("to fence, protect").

The classical name was revived in the name of the Russian Taurida Governorate. While it was abandoned in the Soviet Union, and has had no official status since 1921, it is still used by some institutions in Crimea, such as the Taurida National University, or the FC Tavriya Simferopol.


Russian control 1783–1954Edit

From 1853 to 1856, the peninsula was the site of the principal engagements of the Crimean War, a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia.

During the Russian Civil War Crimea was controlled by the White Army, under the command of Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel, before remnants were driven out by the Red Army in November 1920. Crimea became part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in 1921 as the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, which became part of the Soviet Union in 1922.

During the Second World War the peninsula was invaded by Nazi Germany in summer 1941 across the Isthmus of Perekop. Following the capture of Sevastopol on 4 July 1942, the Crimea was occupied until German forces were expelled in an offensive by Soviet forces ending in May 1944. After Crimea was liberated, it was downgraded to the Crimean Oblast and the Crimean Tatars were deported for alleged collaboration with the Nazi forces. A total of more than 230,000 people were deported, mostly to Uzbekistan, at the time about a fifth of the total population of the Crimean Peninsula.

Ukrainian control 1954–2014Edit

In 1954, by an internal political action by Communist Party General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, it became a territory of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union.

In January 1991, a referendum was held in the Crimean Oblast, and voters approved restoring the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. However, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union less than a year later, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was formed as a constituent entity of independent Ukraine, with a majority of Crimean voters approving Ukrainian independence in a December referendum.

2014 Russian annexation and aftermathEdit

As a result of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and subsequent annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, the sovereignty over the peninsula is currently disputed between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.


Covering an area of Template:Convert/km2Template:Convert/track/abbr/onTemplate:Convert/track/disp/Template:Convert/track/adj/, Crimea is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea and on the western coast of the Sea of Azov, the only land border is shared with Ukraine's Kherson Oblast from the north.

The natural border between the Crimean Peninsula and the Ukrainian mainland is formed by the Sivash or "Rotten Sea", a large system of shallow lagoons. The peninsula is connected to the Kherson Oblast's Henichesk Raion, and thus the European mainland, via the Isthmus of Perekop, a strip of land about Template:Convert/–Template:Convert/track/abbr/Template:Convert/track/disp/Template:Convert/track/adj/ wide, as well as by bridges over the narrow Chongar and Henichesk straits. The northern part of Arabat Spit is administratively part of Henichesk Raion in Kherson Oblast, including its two rural communities of Shchaslyvtseve and Strilkove. The eastern tip of the peninsula is the Kerch Peninsula, separated from Taman Peninsula on the Russian mainland by the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov, at a width of between Template:Convert/–Template:Convert/track/abbr/Template:Convert/track/disp/Template:Convert/track/adj/.

Geographically, the peninsula is generally divided into three zones: steppe, mountains and southern coast.


The Crimean peninsula comprises many smaller peninsulas, such as the mentioned Kerch peninsula, Heracles Peninsula, Tarhankut Peninsula and many others. Crimea also possesses lots of headlands such as Cape Priboiny, Cape Tarkhankut, Sarych, Cape Fonar, Kazantyp, Cape Akburun, and many others.

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 between the port cities of Eupatoria and Sevastopol.

The Kerch Peninsula is attached to the Crimean mainland by Isthmus of Yenikale, delimited by the Bay of Arabat to the north (interrputed by the incoming Arabat Spit), and the Bay of Caffa to the south (arching eastward from the port of Feodosiya).

Crimean MountainsEdit

The southeast coast is flanked at a distance of Template:Convert/–Template:Convert/track/abbr/Template:Convert/track/disp/Template:Convert/track/adj/ from the sea by a parallel range of mountains, the Crimean Mountains. These mountains are backed by secondary parallel ranges.

The main range of these mountains shoots up with extraordinary abruptness from the deep floor of the Black Sea to an altitude of Template:Convert/–Template:Convert/track/abbr/Template:Convert/track/disp/Template:Convert/track/adj/, beginning at the southwest point of the peninsula, called Cape Fiolente. It was believed that this cape was supposedly crowned with the temple of Artemis, where Iphigeneia is said to have officiated as priestess. Uchan-su waterfall on the south slope of the mountains is the highest in Ukraine.


Seventy-five percent of the remaining area of Crimea consists of semiarid prairie lands, a southward continuation of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, which slope gently to the northwest from the foot of the Crimean Mountains. Numerous kurgans, or burial mounds, of the ancient Scythians are scattered across the Crimean steppes.

Crimean RivieraEdit

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 capes Fiolente and Aya, in the south, to Feodosiya, and is studded with summer sea-bathing resorts such as Alupka, Yalta, Gurzuf, Alushta, Sudak, and Feodosiya. During the years of Soviet 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.

The Crimean Mountains and the southern coast are part of the Crimean Submediterranean forest complex ecoregion. The natural vegetation consists of scrublands, woodlands, and forests, with a climate and vegetation similar to the Mediterranean Basin.


Most of Crimea has a temperate continental climate, except for the south coast where it experiences a humid subtropical climateTemplate:Citation needed, due to warm influences from the Black Sea and the high ground of the Crimean Mountains. Summers can be hot (Template:Convert/°CTemplate:Convert/track/abbr/Template:Convert/track/disp/orTemplate:Convert/track/adj/ July average) and winters are cool (Template:Convert/°CTemplate:Convert/track/abbr/Template:Convert/track/disp/orTemplate:Convert/track/adj/ January average) in the interior, on the south coast winters are milder (Template:Convert/°CTemplate:Convert/track/abbr/Template:Convert/track/disp/orTemplate:Convert/track/adj/ January average) and temperatures much below freezing are exceptional. On the high ground, freezing weather is common in winter. Precipitation throughout Crimea is low, averaging only Template:Convert/mmTemplate:Convert/track/abbr/onTemplate:Convert/track/disp/Template:Convert/track/adj/ a year. The Crimean coast is shielded from the north winds by the mountains, and as a result usually has mild winters. Cool season temperatures average around Template:Convert/°CTemplate:Convert/track/abbr/Template:Convert/track/disp/Template:Convert/track/adj/ and it is rare for the weather to drop below freezing except in the mountains, where there is usually snow. Because of its climate, the southern Crimean coast is a popular beach and sun resort for Ukrainian and Russian tourists.


The main branches of the modern 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 Dzhankoy, housing a major railway connection, Krasnoperekopsk and Armyansk, 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.

Agriculture in the region includes cereals, vegetable-growing, gardening, and wine-making, particularly in the Yalta and Massandra regions. Livestock production includes cattle breeding, poultry keeping, and sheep breeding.

In 2014, the republic's annual GDP was $4.3 billion (500 times smaller than the size of Russia's economy). The average salary was $290 per month. The budget deficit was $1 billion. Crimea expects until 2017/2018 in Russian investment amount of $5 billion.


Crimea also possesses several natural gas fields both onshore and offshore, which were starting to be drilled by western oil and gas companies before annexation. The inland fields are located in Chornomorske and Dzhankoy, while offshore fields are located in the western coast in the Black Sea and in the northeastern coast in the Azov Sea.

The republic also possesses two oil fields: one onshore, the Serebryankse oil field in Rozdolne, and one offshore, the Subbotina oil field in the Black Sea.


The development of Crimea as a holiday destination began in the second half of the 19th century. The development of the transport networks brought masses of tourists from central parts of the Russian Empire. At the beginning of the 20th century, a major development of palaces, villas, and dachas began—most of which remain. These are some of the main attractions of Crimea as a tourist destination. There are many Crimean legends about famous touristic places, which attract the attention of tourists.

A new phase of tourist development began when the Soviet government realised the potential of the healing quality of the local air, lakes and therapeutic muds. It became a "health" destination for Soviet workers, and hundreds of thousands of Soviet tourists visited Crimea.

Artek is a former Young Pioneer camp on the Black Sea in the town of Hurzuf, near Ayu-Dag, established in 1925. In 1969 it had an area of 3.2 km². The camp consisted of 150 buildings Unlike most of the young pioneer camps, Artek was an all-year camp, due to the warm climate. Artek was considered to be a privilege for Soviet children during its existence, as well as for children from other communist countries. During its heyday, 27,000 children a year vacationed at Artek. Between 1925 and 1969 the camp hosted 300,000 children. After the breaking up of the Young Pioneers in 1991 its prestige declined, though it remained a popular vacation destination.

In the 1990s, Crimea became more of a get-away destination than a "health-improvement" destination. The most visited areas are the south shore of Crimea with cities of Yalta and Alushta, the western shore - Eupatoria and Saki, and the south-eastern shore - Feodosia and Sudak.

Crimea possesses significant historical and natural resources and is a region where it is possible to find practically any type of landscape; mountain ranges and plateaus, grasslands, caves. Furthermore, Saki poses unique therapeutic mud and Eupatoria has vast empty beaches with the purest sand.

Places of interest include Template:Col-list


Following Russia's unrecognized annexation of Crimea, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and several other countries (including Ukraine) imposed economic sanctions against Russia, including some specifically targeting Crimea. Many of these sanctions were directed at individuals—both Russian and Crimean.


As of 2007, the estimate of the total population of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol was at 2.352 million people, just slightly down from the count of the 2001 Ukrainian Census at 2.376 million.

The ethnic makeup of the population comprised the following self-reported groups (2001 census):

According to the 2001 census, 77% of Crimean inhabitants named Russian as their native language; 11.4% – Crimean Tatar; and 10.1% – Ukrainian. In 2013, however, the Crimean Tatar language was estimated to be on the brink of extinction, being taught in Crimea only in around 15 schools at that point. Turkey provided the greatest support to Ukraine, which had been unable to resolve the problem of education in their mother tongue in Crimea, by bringing the schools to a modern state.


Ivan Aivazovsky, the 19th-century marine painter of Armenian origin, who is considered one of the major artists of his era was born in Feodosia and lived there for the most part of his life. Many of his paintings depict the Black Sea. He also created battle paintings during the Crimean War.

Almost 100 broadcasters and around 1,200 publications are registered in Crimea, although no more than a few dozen operate or publish regularly. Of them most use the Russian language only.

Crimea was the background for Adam Mickiewicz's seminal work, The Crimean Sonnets. A series of 18 sonnets constitute an artistic telling of a journey through the Crimea, they feature romantic descriptions of the oriental nature and culture of the East which show the despair of an exile longing for the homeland, driven from his home by a violent enemy.