Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A couple of excursions in November

By November, the weather had tuned a bit cold for extended hikes. That combined with short days (Crimea has one hour less daylight than Minnesota) meant that our “hikes” in November became excursions to several sites both Cheryl and I have been anxious to see. We were accompanied on these trips by our friend Dima, who was back in Simferopol after working on a fishing trawler all last year off the coast of Africa. Being a fluent English speaker, he was very helpful in translating signs and other information.
All of these photos were taken by Cheryl. I have gotten very lazy about bringing my camera!
Our first trip was to the St. Clement cave monastery and ruins of the Kalamita Fortress, located in the town of Inkerman, outside of Sevastopol. Here are Cheryl and I in our cover up garb for a visit to the monastery. We had brought head scarves and the monastery provided the "skirts."

With Dima on the road up to the monastery. Founded in the Roman empire and then abandoned for centuries, it was resurrected during the Crimean Athos era of the Russian empire (18th-19th centuries). It was closed down during Soviet times, but now is one of the most active monasteries in Crimea.

The main entrance to the monastery. It extends into a network of caves in the cliffs behind it. One of the monks sits in front.

The ruins of the Kalamita Fortress built in the 15th century on the ruins of a fortress dating to the 6th century BC.

The Fortress stands on a hilltop overlooking the Black River where it flows inland from the Black Sea.

One of the round towers of the fortress wall.
On our second excursion, Joohee, another Volunteer friend from Cheryl's village, decided to join us. It was a cold and windy day, but we decided to go to the coastal town of Balaklava to see the secret Soviet submarine factory, now a museum.

Here is the entrance to the factory, located in a water cave deep in the hills, allowing submarines to submerge out at sea and surface in the factory, undetected by US spy sattelites of the Cold War. Now it is a museum.
The undergound facility was large enough to accomodate 3000 people and was stocked with enough provisions for a month in case of a nuclear attack (also from the Cold War era). Occasional display rooms of submarine replicas and parts broke up the long tunnels, but mostly it was a fairly creepy place.
Here is the beautiful Balaklava harbor. The submarine factory is located in the hills across the way.

The remains of yet another Black Sea coast fortress, located on the cliffs high above the sea.

The trail up to the top of the cliff was a little dicey, but the views of the coast are some of the most spectacular I have seen in Crimea. The Balaklava harbor is to the right in this picture. It is hidden at sea by a narrow entrance.

The beautiful Crimean sea coast.

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