Early in spring, the weather is favorable to leisurely walks, reflections and contemplation. And the town of Staryi Krym that is located in the South-East of the peninsula is perfect in this regard, as it is looks like homey, quiet and cozy. The exhibits of the numerous museums and wonderful cultural and historical monuments reflected the eras, as the drops of water, which involved Staryi Krym in, as fate would have it: the Silk Road, Golden Horde, failed capital of the Taurida Governorate and “steel age” of the Russian culture…
City: Staryi Krym.
Total area: 9,97 km2.
Population: about 10 thousand of people.
Researching intricacies of fate
Come to see Grin
A small unnoticed house with a front garden became an earthly terminal home of a “strange Russian writer”. The exposition of the house-museum occupies two rooms. The materials telling visitors about the acquaintance of Alexander Stepanovich and Nina Nikolayevna with Staryi Krym, “which is the city of flowers, silence and ruins” are represented in one of the rooms. The other room preserves the atmosphere of the last months of the Grin’s life.
The writer was very glad about the new dwelling: “I haven’t had a feeling for such a better world for a long time. It’s a wildly here, but there is a rest in this wildness”. Being incurable, the author of the fairy play “Scarlet Sails” kept dreaming and even tried to work. The memorial tree was preserved — it’s a cherry plum, which Grin was looking at and making plans for his future: “I will create as many writings, as this tree bears fruits in the yielding year”. It turned out that it wasn’t meant to be… Alexander stopped his living in 1932 and he was buried at the cemetery of Staryi Krym. Travelers can find the house-museum of Alexander Grin on 52 K. Liebknecht Street.
Pay a visit to Konstantin Paustovsky
In 1934, when Paustovsky had become a master of the lyrical prose, he arrived especially in Staryi Krym to get acquainted with the widow of Grin, bow to his grave and start a struggle for bringing the disgraced writer back to the literature. Thanks to the endeavors of Konstantin Georgiyevich, the “useful taleteller” went back to his readers and the museum was established within the Grin’s house.
Paustovsky liked the small town at once. He began visiting this settlement all the time.
The stay in the house, where the museum is located now, was entailed with one of the happiest events of the life of this outstanding person. He bound his fate with Tatiana Arbuzova in 1949. The first thing the master hurried to show to the beloved woman is Staryi Krym. “Grin would bless our love”, — he noted in his diary. The house-museum of Konstantin Paustovsky is located on 31 K. Liebknecht Street.
Dive into the history and archeology
The richest collection of findings, which formed the basis of the recently established Museum of History and Archeology, were discovered by the members of the Starokrymskaya Archeological Expedition of the State Hermitage Museum during the researches of the Solkhat medieval settlement, which was the first capital of the Crimean Yurt of the Golden Horde, that were carried out for more than 40 years.
Owing to the Silk Road linked Asia to Europe, the town was the largest trading center of the medieval world. The pieces of the rich architectural features of the decoration of the buildings, ceramic water pipes, items made of clay and metal, as well as coins illustrated the period from the peninsula’s history covering the XIII – XV centuries. The main exhibit of the museum is the earrings belonged to the noble lady. It is considered to be a unique masterpiece of the jewelry. The Museum of History and Archeology was situated on 74 P.Osipenko Street.
Admire the view of the Ozbek Khan Mosque
At first glance, it may seem the construction is rather modest. However, we should take two facts into consideration: the temple was raised 700 years ago at the behest of the khan Ozbek, due to whom Islam was chosen as the state religion of the Golden Horde.
Ozbek became a khan at the age of thirty and ran the huge territory during one third of the century having turned it to the powerful state. In the early years of his rule, Ozbek built the moslem temple in Staryi Krym, which was the capital of the Crimean Yurt of the Golden Horde. The front entrance carved of the white limestone is a doorway richly decorated with the thin volumetric engraving. The fanciful floral ornament turns into the Arabic script. The inscription exalts the praise of God and tells us the name of the client of the construction, name of the architect of the moslem temple and year of the construction, which is 1314. Thus, the existing Ozbek Khan Mosque is the oldest one in the Eastern Europe.
Toughen the body and spirit
Light a candle at the Chapel of St. Pantaleon
The higher forces marked Staryi Krym in their own way. The spring named after the saint Pantaleon the Healer is honored among people for many years. People gave the unofficial status of holiness to clean and soft water back in the days of the militant atheism. The local authority was covering the spring up with sand and crushed rock several times, but the life giving liquid obstinately forced its way to people. Old timers gratefully remember about Kseniya Tokareva. Having settled in Staryi Krym in 1958, an ordinary woman looked after the spring and gentrified it in the way she could during the period of 30 years until her death.
The legends tell about the miraculous force of the water and about the icon of Pantaleon, which emerged by supernatural means. Currently, the Orthodox Church confirmed the legends after building the chapel near the spring.
Go horse riding
Having taken a two hour horse riding adventure through the mountains and forests in the outskirts of Staryi Krym, you can feel yourself as a caravan-bashi of the times of the Silk Road. The landscapes change each other. The dense beech forest is exposed to the birch tree copse. The wide glades coexist with the gloomy gulch with a running brook at its bottom, which possesses a small waterfall. A horse moves carefully in the trees, it is not afraid of going through marshy areas. The route is finished near the walls of the medieval Armenian monastery Surb-Khach.
Feel the energy of the sacred place
The powerful walls of the Holy Cross suddenly appear within the age-old forest. The monastery looks rather like a fortress: for almost 700 years, Surb-Khach is a spiritual center, “protection and shelter” for Armenian people, who migrated to Crimea due to prosecutions initiated by conquerors. The tenement, which had come through the centuries, embodies the strength of mind of people, who are able to resist the blows of fate. The talent of the architect and workmanship of the builders allowed to link inherently the church, narthex with the watchtower, inner yard, monastery canteen, accommodation unit and garden with fountains to each other and place them into the complicated architectural landscape.
Several years ago, the Surb-Khach monastery was returned to the Armenian Apostolic Church and prayers are sounded within it nowadays. There is a small museum inside of the monastery canteen telling visitors about the history of the tenement. Pilgrims are welcomed by a tiny café, which is well-known by excellent coffee and simple, but wonderful dishes: the Gata cookies with the stuffing consisted of flour, butter and sugar and brynza covered with brtouch lavash.