Karadag Nature Reserve
In the Eastern Crimea there is a research center with nearly a century of history. It began in 1901, when an assistant professor of Moscow University, neurologist Terence Ivanovich Vyazemskiy bought a small neglected estate in the mountain area Karagach-Kabourga of Feodosian County and built a biological research station there.
In August 1979, one of the major divisions of the biological station – a nature reserve – was created. Its territory is more than twenty square kilometers of land and about a dozen of the sea.
The purpose of the reserve lies in the preservation and study of pristine flora and fauna of this very interesting park – the only park in Europe that preserved its original appearance for millions of years.
Now it is not the reserve at the biological station, but the biological station itself became one of the divisions of Karadag Nature Reserve. Karadag Nature Reserve is one of the youngest on the territory of the former Soviet Union. There were good reasons for its creation: it was necessary to preserve the unique natural formation, remnants of the ancient volcanic massif with a lot of interesting and various information for geologists, biologists, zoologists.
In the late 70s up to ten thousand people camped here every summer, and twice as many tourists visited this beautiful place briefly. These visits affected flora and fauna very much; reserves of minerals and semi-precious stones, in a variety occurring on the slopes and in the bays of Kara-Dag, were ruthlessly exterminated. There was concern that in 20-30 years Kara-Dag would become a desert, would cease to be a natural landmark of the world level.
Long-term respite was very beneficial. Many species of flora and fauna recovered significantly. Now the local flora includes more than 10,000 species, including many endemic species – plants growing nowhere else on the globe. 29 species of very rare plants are listed in the Red Books.
The reserve is now home to 35 species of mammals, 130 species of birds, 15 species of reptiles, many rare species of insects. 18 species of animals are listed in the Red Books. These figures show huge fruitful scientific, educational and protective work of scientists and staff of the reserve.
A few years ago a nature trail was opened here, along which research staff lead tours during the entire season. Every year, the popularity of the dolphinarium, a little circus on the water, with trained dolphins and seals grows. The reserve includes aquarium, museum of exotic animals and art gallery of the presents of the artists who worked on Kara-Dag and left the memory of themselves behind.
This is a blessed place, opened by a wonderful knight of science, Russian scientist Terence Vyazemskiy, about which writer Paustovskiy said: “There are so beautiful parts of our land that every visit there causes a sense of happiness”, is not it?
Literature: V.G. Yena. Protected landscapes of the Crimea. – Simferopol: Tavriya, 1989.
V.G. Yena, I.T. Tverdokhlebov, S.P. Shantyr. Southern coast of the Crimea. Guide. – Simferopol: Business-Inform, 1996.