Cape Ai-Todor in the Crimea. Rest, beauty and immersion in history

ATCape Ai-Todor (which literally means “Saint Fedor” in Greek) shot up over the sea like a high cliff. This South Coast Cape is the tip of Mount Mogabi gently descending to the sea. Once, about a million years ago, a huge block of limestone detached from the yayla and gradually slid down the slope to the sea. This is how the Ai-Todor massif was formed.

On the highest part of Ai-Todor, at an altitude of 155 meters above sea level, rises the oldest lighthouse of the peninsula. Lighthouse Ai-Todor was built in 1793, immediately after the Crimea became part of Russia. Its light is visible to sailors 100 km from the coast. But Cape Ai-Todor was known as a coastal landmark for a very long time, long before the construction of the lighthouse. Already at the beginning of the fourteenth century, it was marked on Italian manuscript maps.

From the first century BC. e. to the second century A.D. e. on Ai-Todor there was an important fortress of the Roman Empire - Kharaks. It is here, according to historians, that the ancient Roman military road passed, which is mentioned by the Roman writer Claudius Ptolemy. It connected Charax with Chersonese (Korsun in the annals of Rus').

This military road ran through the famous Shaitan-Merdven mountain pass. Merdven is a ladder, but who is Shaitan, I think it is not necessary to translate. One of the proofs of the existence of a land communication between Charax and Chersonesos is that all the altars in the temples of Charaxes are made of Sarmatian limestone, which in the southwestern Crimea is found only on the Heracleian Peninsula, near Chersonesus.

The cape stands out in the sea with three protrusions-teeth:

  • Western spur - Ai-Todor;
  • The central spur is the Burun Monastery or, more poetically, Avrorin Rock;
  • The eastern spur is Limen-Burun.

On the territory of Monastery-Burun, the remains of the ancient temple of Theodore Tiron were discovered, hence the name of the massif - Ai-Todor.

On the Aurora rock at the beginning of the 20th century, according to the plan of the architect A.V. Sherwood, a very poetic little castle appeared - the Swallow's Nest.

Castle - "Swallow's Nest" at sunset ©
Castle - "Swallow's Nest" at sunset ©

The location of the castle is unusual - on the very edge of a rocky cliff, the balcony of the structure soars above the abyss. In 1927, during the Yalta earthquake, a piece of rock collapsed under the castle, and the Swallow's Nest practically began to "float" in the air.

Perhaps an exaggeration, but for almost half a century the building was in disrepair. At the beginning of the 70s of the last century, the castle was dismantled, literally, stone by stone, a solid reinforced concrete foundation was built, and then rebuilt.

If we translate the name Limen-Burun, it turns out that this is an ordinary "Cape near the harbor." It is easy to remember him by the rocky island of Parus, which was put forward in front of him in the sea.

Rock Sail of Cape Limen-Burun ©
Rock Sail of Cape Limen-Burun ©

There are always a lot of sea birds on Parus: capelin-loving cormorants, ubiquitous gulls, etc. At the top of the cape there is the “Captain’s Bridge”, a picturesque viewing platform. It offers a beautiful view of the coast and the mountains hanging over it.

A large amount of natural vegetation has been preserved on the massif. The evergreen Pontic needle is very interesting. Firstly, in our country it does not grow anywhere else, secondly, instead of leaves, it grows flat prickly shoots-phylloclades, and thirdly, it blooms in winter and is pollinated with the help of raindrops.

About five thousand strawberry trees grow on Ai-Todor - this is the largest population on the peninsula. It was here that the Grand Duke of the Russian Empire, Nikolai Mikhailovich, who also went down in history as the uncle of Tsar Nicholas II, saw the rarest butterfly charaxes jasius, the caterpillar of which feeds exclusively on the leaves of the strawberry tree.

Cape Ai-Todor is the most famous resort place in Crimea. It has health resorts, rest houses and beautiful parks. Hundreds of thousands of tourists and sightseers annually visit these picturesque, poetic places. Great place for a perfect vacation!

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