The Ayu-Dag Mountain (Gurzufe, Rusia)

On the southern coast of Crimea, between the Great Alushta and the Great Yalta rises the mighty Ayu-Dag or Bear Mountain. This is truly an incredible natural heritage, which has many archeological artifacts. The mountain, in geological terms, is composed of deep magmatic rocks, which are unusual in the Crimean mountains. The quaint “bass player” who outlines Ayu-Dag explains the geological origins. The data associated with the early history of the surroundings of the mountain are fragmented. During excavations have been found artifacts of flint, these are related to the Neolithic and were found in the 30th and 10th centuries BC. From the Bronze Age near Ayu-Dag, the Tauri settlement was built between the 5th and 1st centuries BC.

More reliable information is about the period of the Middle Ages. From the eight century there was a monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul at this place, it was the main basilica of the place. The ruins of the house of St. Peter and St. Paul can still be seen in the sanitary complex of the Partenit village.

Around the monastery on the slopes of the mountains there are small settlements, but they all deteriorated at the end of the 15th century. One reason for this is due to the Ottoman conquest, and another due to the effects of a major earthquake occurred in 1468, which resulted in the loss of fresh water in the mountain area

The top of the mountain is occupied by forests of Albar oak, many plants have reached the age between 500 up to 800 years. Near the “bear’s head” and the promontory convent, there are wild pistachio trees with ages up to 700 years.

The legend of the ayu-dag mountain

There are also romantic legends describing the origins of the famous Crimean mountains. It is said that once there, where now the formidable mountain of Ayu-Dag stands, lived a whole herd of wild bears with a great old bear as leader. After a shipwreck on the coast, the bear found a baby, regretted about that and it took her under its care and upbringing. The years passed, the girl was growing, and she fell in love with a charming young man, and he, as usual, answered her in return. Then, the lovers decide to leave the region and go one day to sail across the sea. When the old bear returned and did not find the girl in the usual place, the leader of the herd infuriated, and with the other bears opened its mouths to draw the water from the sea. To escape the angry beast, the girl sang sweetly, the whole herd was fascinated by their singing and looked up from the water, only the leader was so determined that remained on the shore until it got weakened. And so it was when its body became a huge stone with precipices, in the place of the head raised a sharp rock, and the skin was transformed into a dense forest. That was when the terrible bear’s mountain was created.

Excursion to the Ayu-Dag

Traditionally, the Partenit Bear Mountain Tour begins with a tour of the tomb complex Ioanna Gotskogo, located at the Crimean sanatorium. From here the path to walk to the old causeway that existed in the days of the medieval settlements in the Ayu-Dag originates. The path leads first to the viewing platform, and then down again to the secluded beach. Enough to enjoy the Crimean sun. Apart from this, care must be taken to go on the road trip, waiting for very risky cliffs and boulders, impenetrable scrubs, that come across with tourists who are not prepared. At the same time trails of Artek were used during generations of Soviet pioneers.

At the foot of Ayu-Dag are sold schematic maps of the walking routes, which will help concentrate better in the area and not miss some of the attractions.

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