Grand Canyon of the Crimea
Grand Canyon is a huge ravine washed in the northern slope of the Main ridge by river Auzun-Uzen and the most significant tectonic fault in the Crimea that occurred during a time of active mountain-building processes in the Tertiary period several million years ago.
This natural monument was first described by the known Crimean geologist I.I. Puzanov in 1925. He suggested the name which we use now. “This area is imbued with some special charm, – the scientist wrote in his work “In the untrodden Crimea”. – It seems that Auzun-Uzen is as if resting, so that, after receiving reinforcement fr om the Almachuk, to plunge again into the last gorge formed by low cliffs to the right and to the left.
The resting river and the whole tract lost in the depths of the mountains beckoned us to rest in the shade of the thick bushes of dogwood, in the jingle of two mountain streams, wh ere nimble trout were playing”.
This wild, majestic canyon located in 4 km south-east of the village of Sokolinoye, is called miracle of nature. As we move deeper into the canyon from Kokozskaya Valley, slopes of the giant crevasse become higher, plumber and closer to each other. In the narrowest places width of the canyon does not exceed 3-5 m, it is dangerous even to speak loudly here, as rockfalls are possible.
Depth of the gorge reaches 320 m; its length is more than 3 km. The main sculptor that created this phenomenon of nature is water. Grand work of the river can be seen in the abundance of rapids, waterfalls and piles of boulders at the bottom of the canyon. These natural nuclei-millstones moved by water for centuries drill in the bed of the gorge original holes and “baths”, reaching 5-6 m in diameter and 2-3 m in depth.
The water in them is clean and cold; therefore they are called “baths of the youth”. Valuable fish – brook trout – live in the running water. In the past, during the glacial epoch, this well isolated canyon was a refuge for thermophilic flora. It is no coincidence that 67 % of the species of orchids found in the Crimea grow here, in particular, extremely rare orchid “Lady’s slipper”.
Literature: V.G. Yena. Protected landscapes of the Crimea. – Simferopol: Tavriya,