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Главная страница » Библиотека » В.Г. Шавшин. «Балаклава. Исторические очерки»


Fifteen kilometers away southward from Sevastopol, Balaklava picturesquely stretches — a city which is going to have its 2500-th anniversary in 2004.

With approach to Balaklava's unmatched history, everyone gets surrounded by poetic legends and myths. This land is associated with resourceful Odysseus' travel and it is the supposed place of legendary Diana's Temple where Iphigenia, priestess of the Tauri temple, used to perform her bloody ritual.

Ancient Greek historians and more recently — Byzantine ones mentioned the Balaklava Bay under the name of the Symbolon Harbor — the Harbor of Symbols. It is present in the writings of Strabon, Plinius Maior, Polien, Ptolemy, Phlavius Arrian. The XlX-th century's researchers often associated Balaklava with the bay depicted by Homer in Song X of «Odyssey».

The city's name, Balaklava, is commonly derived from the Turkic words «balyk» («fish») and «yuve», read as «lava» («pond») — «Fishpond».

In Balaklava's territory Tauri settlements have been discovered. Then the bay attracted Greeks. In 422—421 В. C. they founded Taurida Chersonesus, a city state, the ruins of which can be seen in the area of modern Sevastopol.

The more recent history of Balaklava relates to the Genoese who built there the Cembalo Fortress and founded a colony in the XIV-th century. The majestic ruins of Cembalo still tower above the city. In 1475 the Genoese fortress was seized by Turks. They deployed in it their garrison and rebuilt it for use of fire-arms.

When Crimea was joined to Russia in 1783, the archipelago Greeks who had been fighting with Turkey on the Russian side were settled in Balaklava. Among them members of the Balaklava Greek battalion were recruited for the cordon service. In 1787 Empress Catherine II visited Crimea, Sevastopol, and Balaklava. She made a long journey from St. Petersburg to Taurida, accompanied by Prince Josef the Second of Austria and Princes Nasau-Siegen and De-Ligne.

Nearby Balaklava, on the picturesque seashore, there is Saint George's Monastery which is the oldest in Crimea. According to the church legend, it was founded by Greeks in 891. It was visited by Russian Tsars and many prominent travelers. In September 1820 the great Russian poet A. Pushkin visited it.

During the Eastern (Crimean) war in 1853—1856 Balaklava happened to be a military base of the British army. In 1854—1855, when Sevastopol was besieged, the Englishmen built a railway in Balaklava, which was the first in Crimea, and laid an underwater cable from Saint George's Monastery to Varna, providing telegraph connection of Balaklava with London and Paris. In Kady-Kobeh, Balaklava's suburban village, the Sardinian army headquarters were disposed; that army was an ally of Britain, France and Turkey.

On October 25, 1854, during a battle in the Balaklava Valley the light cavalry of Cardigan's Brigade perished whose men came from most aristocratic families of Great Britain, and the valley was named «The Valley of Death». In September 1854, nearby Balaklava above ten English vessels, including the screw-propelled steamer «Prince», were wrecked by stormy weather. In spring 1855, Florence Nightingale, the world's first nurse, arrived to Balaklava.

After the Crimean war, English, French and Italian necropolises were provided nearby Balaklava. In 1993, on the Katkarta Hill an English memorial ensemble was built.

In the late XIX-th century and early XX century Balaklava started its development as a resort. Here the relatives of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II — Count Apraksin, Prince Yusupov, the Naryshkins, and many titled persons — Princesses Muravyovs, Prince Gagarin — built their villas.

Upon establishment of the Soviet Power, in Balaklava the Expedition for Special-Purpose Underwater Works was arranged to salvage «Prince» which, allegedly, was carrying gold — the English soldiers' salary. Many years were spent by French, German, American, Norwegian, and Italian expeditions in efforts to find the treasure. The last attempt was made by Japanese. They spent 300.000 rubles and found just seven gold coins. The only ones disinterested in the gold lying on the sea bottom nearby Balaklava were Englishmen. Not quite long ago it was ascertained that there had been no any gold aboard «Prince». Yet the legend persists.

In the years of the Second World War Balaklava was the southernmost point of the Soviet-German front. Erich von Manstein charged the 72-d Infantry Division to seize Balaklava. For 250 day the little town was fighting, together with Sevastopol, against the enemy's superior forces.

More than 50 martial-glory monuments there are on Balaklava's land. Mostly they are necropolises and tombs of worriers that were fighting in 1941—1942 and 1944.

In September 2001, nearby Balaklava, at the Goncharnoye Village (formerly Varnautka) a collective German martial cemetery was inaugurated. In it, the remains of about 5 thousand German soldiers, found in the land of Sevastopol, were reburied. On the 19-th of September, for the first time during the whole history since the end of World War II, a German delegation headed by Mr. Studemann — Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany — visited Mount Sapun and paid their respect to the fallen defenders of Sevastopol and Balaklava.

In February 1945, at the time of the Yalta Conference, Mount Sapun and the English Cemetery on the Katkarta Hill were visited by Winston Churchill.

The years are passing by. On the former battle fields orchards and vineyards have grown. In the Balaklava Valley the vineyards of the «Zolotaya Balka» (Golden Ravine) Agricultural Company spread out. Balaklava's wine-makers are inheritors of the ancient Greek traditions and produce festive sparkling wines «Champagne of Ukraine», «Soviet Champagne», «Red Sparkling», white and red «Muscatel Sparkling». These areas are justly called «Ukrainian Champagne».

In the Balaklava region one of the best wine-making plants of Europe is situated — the Inkerman vintage-wine vineyard. 50 gold, 19 silver medals of international contests and wine exhibitions, two crystal Grand Prix cups, another Grand Prix and Gold Amphora are expressive signs of appraisal for the wine-growers and wine-makers of the Inkerman vineyard.

When the first and only in the world underground plant and harbor created in Balaklava in the Cold War period for repairing submarines were liquidated, the town became one of the tourist centers of Crimea.

Balaklava was visited by Ex-President of the United States Richard Nixon, more recently Charles — Prince of Wales, His Highness Prince Michael of Kent — the brother of the English Queen Elisabeth II, Count and Countess of Gloucester with their son — Count of Ulster, ambassadors of Russia, France, Britain, Italy, Turkey visited this town.

Nowadays Balaklava is in full possession of its unique natural, geographic, historical, and recreational facilities.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, the town is ready to meet you. Welcome to Balaklava!

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